Tomato Miso Soup by Anna Jones

Ok, so I have to admit. Tomato soup, not always one of my favorite things, unless it’s home-made, and usually then I want nothing to do with the time most recipes (good ones) request I spend on this simple soup. I’m lazy when it comes to soup-making and I want a great soup, in little time and a developed flavor.

Anna Jones's amazing second cookbook "A Modern Way to Cook" is truly a gem collection of recipes. This includes one of the first recipes in the book, organized by TIME to cook. This recipe is "Tomato, Miso and Sesame Soup." She promises this soup in 15 minutes, a "fresh and clean tomato soup with miso flavor that adds saltiness like a dream. 

I was truly skeptical when I made this the first time. I thought to myself, how in the world is Miso and Tomato going to meld together in a soup that takes SUCH little time to actually make? Who is this girl? Is she insane? 

— I sat on the recipe a while. Read it. Read it again a week later. I was intrigued, which is bazaar for me + tomato soup, but surely not an unknown occurrence here in the “obsessed with cookbooks” household. 

Then, one day I just wrote down the ingredients and went out the door and got the stuff to make it. I even bought the fancy Miso. Who the f was this person? 

Then for dinner, with ease and not much time, and no crazy steps or things along the way, I had a crazy delicious tomato soup. AND one where I ate ALL of the leftovers EASY. Was it magic? 

No, it was incredible recipe writing.


Here’s why this recipe works: 

  1. The tomato soups I usually like, have roasted tomatoes — like Gwenyth’s Slow Roasted Tomato Soup, she includes her slow roasted tomatoes in her recipe. Who doesn’t love slow roasted tomatoes, they are BASICALLY CANDY, but like hell you are doing that on a weeknight. SO - instead she is using the miso here to give that developed flavor.
  2. It’s made to be done quick and fast, so you can buy the ingredients and go home and have delicious tomato soup for dinner that night. Not after hours and hours of pre-roasting tomatoes.
  3. Once you have the Miso in your fridge, these are things you can keep around in your normal-isa pantry and just pick up a few ingredients to make for a quick go-to dinner. 

 

I only have ONE fault with this recipe, which - for a food blogger who reads cookbooks for fun instead of novels, is pretty awesome. Its the title. I actually wonder if the Editors had a bit too much of a say in some of the recipe titles, since many of them are JUST off enough. But I will go into that a LOT more when I post my review of this cookbook. 

The title of the recipe is “ odfj”, so you assume that there’s going to be Sesame in the recipe. There isn’t. It’s ONLY in the garnish, which many recipe makers skip. This soup is delicious with the garnish, but to be honest I wouldn’t make it every-time which makes it superfluous, and therefore the title is a little misleading. You can certainly use the word “with” or something else to denote an added component, but the SOUP itself doesn’t have an ounce of sesame. It’s just a tahini based sauce + sesame seeds on top.

One more little note about the tahini + sesame seeds before we get into the recipe here. When you make a recipe the first time, make it exactly as it says - THEN you can edit/remove a component if you need, but I decided when eating leftovers after making it exactly as the recipe says to leave it out in the next rounds. I ended up leaving out the tahini sauce but adding a few seeds and cilantro. 

Recipe for — by Anna Jones in “A Modern Way to Cook”

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 green onions
  • coconut or olive oil
  • 17 ounces/500 g vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz)can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs miso paste (Anna uses Dark Barley- which I also bought)
  • 1 Tbs Tahini
  • Sea Salt

TOPPING

  • 1 Tbs Runny Honey
  • 1 Tbs Tahini
  • 1 Tbs Miso Paste
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 4 Tbs Sesame Seeds
  • Small Bunch Cilantro

Instructions (from the book p. 26) - my notes in bold italic.

Fill and boil a kettle of water (you will want at least 14 oz in there)  until you get all of your equipment together. Put a large pan over low heat. 

Working quickly, chop the green onions and add them to the pan with a splash of the coconut or olive oil. Turn up the heat to medium and stir from time to time for a couple of minutes until beginning to brown. Chop the fresh tomatoes in half (bigger ones in quarters) and add them to the pan. Add the canned tomatoes, fill the can with boiling water and pour into pan as well, then add the miso stir together and bring pot to a boil.

(NOTE: the point is here you are adding boiling water so the entire pot comes to a boil quicker than another recipe that might include luke-warm water/liquid addition).

While the pot is coming to a boil, make the topping. Mix honey, tahini miso and lemon juice. Toast  the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until golden, chop the cilantro.

(I would use a fork and place the "dressing in a small reusable jar- so you can use the rest with subsequent portions if you aren't serving all four portions in one sitting)

Once the soup has come to a boil, it's ready to go. Take it off the heat, add the tahini and blend well in a handheld blender, adding a little salt if needed.

(Yet another note: You can also use a regular blender for this - I have, just do it in batches and be careful with hot soup in a blender)

The sweetness of the tomatoes, the salty depth of the miso, and the creamy earthiness tahini should be well balanced. Ladle into four bowls and top with the miso and honey mixture, the sesame seeds and chopped cilantro. 

 

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