1 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch of sea salt
splash of sake or white wine
3½ cups stock of choice (I use mushroom)
3 tablespoons miso
- Trim the leeks, cutting the green tips off the white portion. Cut the white portion into very thin slices on the diagonal. Rinse the slices briefly in ice-cold water to rid them of any soil, then drain.
- Cut the green tops into very thin slices on the diagonal. Don’t be concerned if a slippery substance appears. This enzyme, known as allicin, is responsible for the distinctive aroma associated with onions and garlic, and it will help suspend the miso in the stock, thickening the soup.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the green slices to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes, or until wilted and aromatic. Then add the white slices and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes, or until wilted and aromatic. Sprinkle with the salt, then add the sake and jiggle the pan to deglaze any brown bits. Add the stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the leeks are very tender. Skim away any large clouds of froth with a fine-mesh strainer.
- Place the miso in a small bowl and ladle in some of the hot stock from the pan. Stir in the miso to dissolve then add the mixture to the pan. Do not allow the soup to boil once the miso has been added. This traditional wisdom should be heeded for two reasons: boiling the soup diminishes the nutritional value of the miso and compromises its aroma.
- Divide the soup among bowls and serve piping hot.