Asari no Miso Shiru: Miso Soup with Clams
I almost feel bad calling this a recipe because it's just too easy. You can have this soup ready in a few minutes if your clams are already cleaned. But I can't not share because it's such a great side dish to any meal. Typically, the base for miso soup is dashi. But clams have such a big flavor that you use the clam liquor instead of dashi as the soup base.
Start off by purging your manila clams. Make sure your clams are completely submerged in cold water and use 3% salt by weight. For example if you use 1000ml of water, add 30g of salt (using metric here for clarity). The best way is to weigh it out because salt can vary widely in density. One of my favorite fishmongers in the city, Aquabest, recommended using marine salt to mimic sea water even better (many fishmongers and pet stores carry marine salt). Let the clams sit in a dark area for at least 30 minutes. Remember, don't touch the bowl, because any movement will scare the clams into shutting tight. Once the clams are purged, rinse them under cold water and rub them against each other to get any remaining sand off. The hardest part is now over.
Add the clam and water to a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Lower the heat and place a lid on the pot and let the clams cook for 3-5 minutes.
Once all the clams are open, they're done cooking. Strain the miso into the broth by pushing it out with a spoon. Miso is the salt equivalent here so feel free to adjust the amount to taste especially since different brands have different sodium levels. Once all of the miso has been incorporated, the soup is ready! Didn't I tell you it was super easy?
Feel free to garnish with some scallions and enjoy!