Long before the invention of the food processor, frugal Japanese made a version of this soup with scraps left from filleting fish. It was a tedious and time-consuming task to pick bits and pieces of flesh from the fish bones, mince it with knives, then mash it with a mortar and pestle before piping and poaching the “noodles.” The results were obviously worth the trouble, since a recipe for this soup dating back to the seventeenth century still exists!
Today, with modern kitchen equipment, the making of these prized ocean noodles has been greatly simplified. Since both the broth and the noodles freeze well, I recommend that you make a full recipe even if you intend to serve only a few portions at a time.
Have your fish store fillet the porgy and remove the skin from the fillets. Mention that you’ll be using the head and bones in your stock, though you won’t be needing the skin. The “meat” will be used in the noodle “dough.”
Place the head and bones in a large colander and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over all surfaces. Let the carcass “sweat” for 5–10 minutes. Pour boiling water over the bones and head; turn them over and repeat the boiling water bath. Place the blanched bones and head in a large saucepan with
Separate the egg. Cover and set aside the yolk for making the noodles. Lightly beat the white and crush the shell slightly in it. Bring the strained broth to a boil and whisk in the crushed shell and beaten egg white. Continue to cook for 1 minute before pouring the broth again through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer or colander into a
Carefully pick over the filleted fish, making sure to remove all bones and bits of skin. Chop the flesh into coarse pieces, then place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse-process for 10–15 seconds. Add the yolk and
Fill a wide pot with water to a depth of 3 inches. Bring to a vigorous boil. Hold the filled pastry bag
Bring the water in the pot back to a rolling boil and repeat the noodle-making process in three or more batches. Inevitably your arms will tire and begin to fall closer to the level of the hot water, where the steam from the pot “cooks” the fish paste in the tip of the pastry bag. If the tip of the bag should become clogged, use a toothpick to remove the obstruction.
Trim both ends of the zucchini, then cut it in half lengthwise. Cut across at equal intervals to yield eight pieces in all. Gently scrape out any seeds from each piece, then etch and trim the skin of the zucchini pieces so that each resembles a leaf. Blanch the zucchini leaves for 45 seconds in several cups of boiling water to which
Rest a single zucchini leaf on top of the noodles in each bowl. Heat the seasoned broth just to the boiling point, then gently ladle
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.