Oysters in Wintry Broth

Kaki no Mizoré Wan

The Japanese love the changing of the seasons. Here mizoré, which means “sleet,” describes the grated daikon radish in the broth, evoking winter’s icy rains. The crunchiness of the daikon contrasts marvelously with the smoothness of the oysters. A touch or horseradish enlivens the savory broth.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen large oysters, shucked but with their liquor
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 16-20 square inches dashi kombu (kelp for stock making)
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • 8-10 ounces daikon (Japanese white radish)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi (Japanese horseradish) powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon cold water

Method

  1. Toss the oysters in the rice wine and let them sit for 5 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and toss again. Let the oysters sit for another 5 minutes.
  2. Place the kelp in a saucepan with the cold water and bring it rapidly to a boil over high heat. Remove the kelp and add the oysters with their marinade. Stir to separate the oysters, and simmer for 2 minutes, until they are barely cooked through. Strain the oyster broth through a cloth- or paper-lined colander into a clean saucepan, reserving the oysters. Wipe each of the oysters, if necessary, to remove any froth clinging to them. Season the broth with the light soy sauce.
  3. Peel and grate the radish. Place the grated radish in the center of a clean cloth (muslin or an old white linen handkerchief is fine). Bring the corners of the cloth up to enclose the radish, and squeeze gently to drain off the liquid. Keeping the gratings enclosed, carefully rinse the bag under cold water, and squeeze again to rinse the grated radish of impurities.
  4. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small cup, and mix to form a smooth paste. Heat the seasoned oyster broth rapidly, and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir as the broth thickens slightly. Add the squeezed radish gratings to the thickened oyster broth. Return the poached oysters to the soup, and simmer long enough to heat them through. Divide the soup among four bowls.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the horseradish powder and cold water to make a paste. Divide the paste into four portions and coax each into a tiny mound. Place one mound on top of each portion of poached Oysters in Wintry Broth; the diner stirs the horseradish into the surrounding broth.

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