I N G R E D I E N T S

1 shrimp, peeled and parboiled, or one bite sized piece of fish

2 strands of somen

1 piece of decorative fu

1 inch piece of yuba

¼ fresh shiitake mushroom, a few enoki mushrooms, or a few thin slices of matsutake mushrooms (if you are lucky enough to find them)

1 decoratively cut piece of carrot

1 snow pea, cut diagonally in half

A few pieces of wakame

Fragrant items:

1 few strands of yuzu rind

1 kinome sprig

1 mistuba leaf

Suimono

First, prepare the ingredients for the suimono. These can vary according to what is in season and what is available. You can use a combination of 3 or 4 of the ingredients listed to the left. Try to combine a nice selection of colors and shapes, and a balance of heavy and light items, but always include one fragrant item. For instance, you might choose shrimp, snow pea and yuzu, or bamboo shoot, wakame and kinome (classic spring dish). The portions are for each serving.

The dry ingredients should be cooked or reconstituted, and parboil the fresh ingredients until just tender; if using snow peas, just until they turn bright green. It is a good idea to do this ahead of time and assemble the ingredients in the bowls before ladling the soup at serving time.

Soup

Bring 4 cups of dashi to a very low simmer. If you have different grades of kombu, use the best variety available, as it really makes a difference. Add 1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon mirin. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sparingly. The flavor should be refreshing and subtle, and the soup should be served piping hot. Ladle into the bowls and garnish with one of the fragrant items.

Serves 4