My husband bought me the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan a few years ago. It’s a beautiful book filled with entertaining stories, gorgeous photography and really interesting recipes with an Asian slant. Every time I make something from the book I learn about an ingredient or a flavor pairing.
Quick aside. My favorite Momofuku story is this one and it was not even in my kitchen. I was at our local library and overheard the librarian at the check out desk say to this very elderly man, “You have Momofuku overdue.”
The man got genuinely flustered. “I have WHAT??” he gasped.
Now realize that the ‘fuku’ part of the word can sound a lot like ‘fuck you’.
Anyway, this little exchange went on for a little bit and it never seemed to get resolved. Poor old guy, though. He was as red as can be. Didn’t strike me as the adventurous Asian cook, either.
Back to the cookbook.
For the first time ever I made a dashi, usually just seaweed and dried fish broth, but here made with kelp and bacon. (Mmmmmm bacon.) I also cooked with konbu, a kelp that I was not familiar with and was surprisingly abundant in my local grocery store.
What I ended up with was a soup that is essentially bacon broth filled with briny clams and buttery potatoes. Some crisped bacon and a drizzle of green onion oil balance out the dish.
Despite being bacon heavy, this soup is amazingly light and extremely easy to make. I served warm naan alongside to soak up the delicious broth.
Bacon Dashi With Potatoes And Clams
Bacon Dashi (recipe follows)
Green Onion Oil (recipe follows)
1 lb small fingerling potatoes
1/4 lb smoky bacon
2 dozen manilla, littleneck or butter clams, rinsed and scrubbed
Sliced green onion, to garnish if you like
1. Chop bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Heat bacon dashi until it comes to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add clams to boiling bacon dashi, cover pot, and cook until they open, about 8 minutes.
4. Spoon clams into individual serving bowls. Add a few potatoes to each bowl and ladle bacon dashi over. Top with crisp bacon and a drizzle of green onion oil. Sprinkle with some green onion if you like.
1/2 lb smoky bacon
8 cups water
2 (3 x 6 inch) strips of dried konbu (Kelp available at Asian grocery stores. I got mine in the International section of our local grocery store.)
1. In a stock pot, combine konbu and water. Bring to a boil then turn off heat, allowing the konbu to steep in the water for 10 minutes.
2. Remove konbu from the pot and add bacon. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and allow dashi to cool. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to allow fat to rise to the top. Skim fat before use.
Green Onion Oil
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil or other mild oil
1 large bunch green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
2. Pour green onion mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a serving container (I skipped this step since I liked the thicker texture). Refrigerate until use.
Recipes from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan
‘Red Lines’ is a new single from Brooklyn based band Bugs In The Dark.
First thing. That band name is not my favorite. I have flashbacks to my childhood in Brooklyn and some of the nasty bugs I saw when I turned on the lights at night. Yucky roaches scurrying away or big, fat hissing water bugs that slid under the refrigerator. Ew.
Nothing buggy about ‘Red Lines’, though. Just some tribal, post-punk shouty goodness.
Check out Bugs In The Dark on the band’s Website, where you can buy the music.