Recipe for ‘Tai No Osumashi’ by Chihiro Masui and Masao Karasuyama
This clear sea bream soup combines the acidity of yuzu, the saltiness of ‘konbu’ seaweed and the sweetness of sake.
© Richard Haughton - Glénat
Although sea bream is usually served at weddings in Japan, it can also be found in many everyday dishes, like tai no osumashi, a clear soup. This dish is taken from Chihiro Masui’s book entitled Poissons, un art du Japon (‘Fish: A Japanese Art’), which contains 30 traditional recipes adapted so they can be made using European ingredients by chef Masao Karasuyama.
In this book, journalist Chihiro Masui goes to meet big names in fish cooking in Japan, like Hachiro Mizutani and Takeshi Ohira, the latter of whom specialises in fugu, and garners information from them on the appropriate ways to cut and prepare each type of fish.
7 g konbu seaweed (10 cm long)
2 sea bream fillets (80 g each)
100 g spinach
Zest from a quarter of a yuzu
2 tbsp sake
1.5 tsp usu-kuchi soy sauce
Slice the leek and chop the white part into very thin filaments, then wash and dry them carefully with kitchen roll.
Chop the yuzu zest into thin strips.
Put some salt in a tray and place the sea bream fillets on top, cut into 2-cm pieces.
Season the top of the pieces and set aside for 10 minutes.
Wash them quickly and dry using kitchen roll.
Wash and chop the spinach. Cook it quickly in salted boiling water, then soak it immediately in ice-cold water. Dry it thoroughly once cold.
Bring the konbu dashi to a gentle boil and add the sake, soy sauce and 1 ½ tsp salt.
Place the pieces of sea bream in the mixture and cook until they start to ‘dance’ slightly in the broth.
Once they start to float in the liquid, they are cooked.
Add the spinach and skim the broth; it needs to be perfectly clear once finished (Japanese dishes are often adorned with motifs and you need to be able to see them through the broth).
Remove the pieces of sea bream and the spinach and place them in bowls.
Heat the broth without bringing it to the boil, then pour it into the bowls over the fish and spinach.
Finish by topping the fish with the leek and yuzu zest.
You can add a touch of colour to the soup with slices of blanched carrot (still crunchy).
Poissons, un art du Japon (‘Fish: A Japanese Art’) (2018), a recipe book by Chihiro Masui with photographs by Richard Haughton, published by Glénat (not currently available in English).
Chihiro Masui is a Japanese journalist and translator. She is a keen cook and has gained a strong insight into world cuisines as a result of her travels. She mainly writes about top chefs’ culinary creations. Poissons, un art du Japon is her first recipe book.
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