Another stormy morning in the Big Apple called for a strengthening, cleansing dish. Nishime it was. With just a quarter-inch of water and a tiny piece of kelp in the pot, a potful of vegetables steam for a half hour or longer. They soften and sweeten so they are not only comforting, but also easy to digest.
1 postage stamp sized piece of kelp (theseaweedman.com/products/kelp)
about 4 ounces shitake mushrooms
2-3 large round slices fennel
1 large daikon radish
3 dime-sized slices ginger root
about 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Process Trim the stems from the shitake mushrooms;
wash them well. Set aside. Wash the fennel bulb and then slice the tough end off the bottom. Starting at the bottom, slice 3 pieces, each about one-quarter-inch-thick.
Set aside. Use a serrated knife to scrape any tiny hairs and brown spots from the daikon radish skin.
Rinse it and then cut it into 2-inch-wide segments.
Set aside. Into a small heavy pot with a tight-fitting (preferably glass) lid, place about a quarter inch of water and the postage stamp piece of kombu (kelp).
Arrange the shitake mushroom tops at the bottom of the pot.
Next layer the fennel discs on top of the mushrooms.
Finally, place the daikon radish logs at the top of the pot. Try to fit everything into the pot rather tightly and compactly.
Next peel the ginger root, slice it into discs
and slice them into tiny matchsticks.
Scatter the ginger pieces on top of the daikon. Put the lid on the pot and place it on the stove on a medium flame.
When you see steam coming out of the seams of the pot lid (after about 3 minutes). lower the flame to a simmer; let the nishime steam for about 25 minutes, or until a fork glides effortlessly into the daikon. Remove pot lid and drizzle the soy sauce on top.
Replace lid and shake the whole pot three times, with purpose. Return pot to a low simmer for about 3 minutes more and then remove from flame. Arrange nishime on individual plates, making sure that each ingredient is represented on each plate.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2014
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