“For the meat, put a hearty helping in a pot and sprinkle a bit of ground-up Eternal Fortunes on top. Mix in some stick miso, and then throw in a bunch of diced sainona greens. Ta-da! My special “Riko Soup” is ready!” (“The Edge of the Abyss”)
Fishing season is in full force back in my home state, which means tons of salmon ready to eat fresh, or to preserve by canning, smoking, or freezing. Growing up, my mother was always “that crazy Asian lady” who saved fish heads from being discarded by others so she could use them in her cooking. I loved her “fish head soup,” otherwise known as sinigang. Each spoonful tasted like the essence of fish. I especially enjoyed picking out the succulent cheeks and saving them for last. Plenty of cultures around the world also use fish heads and scraps for cooking to create a flavorful broth that can be used immediately or saved for later.
Riko and Reg work together in the fourth episode of Made in Abyss to create a simple but delicious fish soup. We watch Reg dive into the waters to catch some demonfish, and see Riko clean and cut like a pro. Smoking the innards for later consumption, she proceeds to use the rest of the fish–head, bones, and all–to extract every bit of flavor into their meal. Her cooking skills reveal the valuable time spent studying how to survive in the abyss. Cave raiders can be gone days, weeks, and even years at a time–far too long to bring enough prepared food to last. They need to not only survive the monsters and curses, but also their own hunger.
With knowledge, ability, and a few non-perishable goods, hearty and tasty food can be made fresh from the surrounding environment. Riko pulls out her treasures of “Eternal Fortunes” seasoning and a miso stick; nature provides everything else, the greens, water, and fish. Just like the cave raiders who are born from past raiders and years of training, Riko’s Soup combines ingredients from outside and inside the abyss.
I hope you enjoy my version of Riko’s Soup, a miso cod fish stew that warms the belly and soothes the heart.
Cod Fish Miso Soup
- Large cutting board
- Large pot
- Small pot
- Chef’s knife
- Mesh strainer
- Spider ladle – useful for transferring ingredients without splashing hot water
- Large mixing bowl
- Whole fish head: salmon, cod, etc.
- 2 cod steaks (alternatives: salmon, halibut)
Note: I made the mistake of using black cod and letting it boil with the bones too long. The fish completely melted into my soup 😦 Try cod like lingcod or salmon that hold together well.
- 1/2 cup red miso
- 4-5 small Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 8-10 pearl onions
- 1 leek
- 1 sheet Kombu
- “Eternal Fortunes” seasoning, to taste – a.k.a. salt. I used Johnny’s seasoning, as well
- Possible sides: dinner rolls or a crusty loaf, white or brown rice
- Slice white part of leek diagonally into half-inch pieces.
- Peel and chop potatoes in half lengthwise, then cross section into 1” pieces (bite-size).
- Break apart dried wakame into half-inch pieces.
- Break kombu sheet into 2-4 smaller pieces.
- Clean fish head if not already prepared.
Note: It’s especially important to remove the gills. I picked my king salmon head up from the local Asian market, which had already cleaned it and removed most of the meat. This is the fastest method, and perfectly acceptable. If up to the challenge, a whole head you clean yourself is preferable so you can keep the tasty bits, like the cheeks.
- Chop fish steaks or fillets into equal-sized chunks and season with salt.
Prepare the pearl onions
- Bring a small pot of water to boil.
- Add pearl onions and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer onions to ice bath.
- When cool, cut off the root end of each onion.
- The onion should squeeze right out of the skin.
- Skin all onions and they’ll be ready for the cooking process!
Make the broth base
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Blanche fish head and cod steaks for 30 seconds. This removes the overly fishy oils.
- Drain, rinse, and return fish head and bones to pot. Set cod pieces aside.
- Add 5 cups of fresh water and kombu and slowly bring to a boil, removing kombu just before boiling point. Kombu becomes slimy and bitter after boiled.
- Drop heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain broth into a bowl (or use a mesh sieve to remove foam and fat) and return to pot along with head and bones.
Optional: Salvage any fish meat from head and bones to set with cod. Discard head and bones. I chose to do this since I don’t like picking out bones while eating.
- Add fish meat, potato, leek, and onions and continue simmering for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are almost tender.
- Skim off any foam created by potatoes.
- Add wakame and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and gradually stir in miso paste, up to a 1/2 cup, until evenly mixed to desired strength.
Plate and serve
- Salt, to taste.
- Divide soup into bowls and serve along with your favorite crusty bread or freshly-cooked rice.
“The Edge of the Abyss.” Made in Abyss. Amazon Anime Strike. 28 Jul 2017.