Recipe of the week
Salmon nabe: A one-pot that makes any dinner a party
For young people in Japan, nabemono, or one-pot meals, have become the go-to for entertaining, says Nancy Singleton Hachisu in Japan: The Cookbook (Phaidon). “Effortless to put together,” a nabemono also allows everyone at the table to participate in the cooking, “which makes it fun.”
All the ingredients, including konbu (dried kelp) and ponzu (a citrusy soy sauce), are easy to find in American markets these days. You can always make a nabemono at the stove, but it’s worth investing in a tabletop burner and a donabe—a special flameproof earthenware casserole. Enjoyment-wise, “you will get back above and beyond what you spend.”
½ whole salmon, gutted and scaled
2 pieces konbu (6 inches each)
2 blocks momendofu (Japanese-style soft tofu), 10½ oz each, cut into eighths
Layered napa cabbage and spinach (recipe below), cut into 12 pieces
½ small daikon, halved lengthwise and sliced ½ inch thick
12 medium shiitake caps, halved
4 medium negi (long onions) or 12 fat scallions, cut in 1½-inch lengths
Ponzu, for serving
1 tbsp slivered yuzu or Meyer lemon zest
Cut salmon crosswise diagonally at 1-inch intervals, then into 2-inch chunks. Mound on a platter large enough for all ingredients.
In a large donabe or flameproof Dutch oven, combine 2 quarts water and the konbu and bring to a boil over high heat. Place konbu broth on a tabletop burner; set to low simmer. Arrange tofu, layered cabbage pieces, daikon, shiitake, and negi on platter with salmon. Bring platter to the table and mound half of each ingredient in the pot of konbu broth, keeping mounds in separate areas rather than combining them.
Turn burner to medium-high and cook at a lively simmer until done, about 5 minutes. Divide fish and vegetables among small bowls, and add some broth to each bowl. Each person should season with ponzu to taste—1 to 2 tsp per ½ cup broth—and sprinkle in a pinch of yuzu or lemon zest. Replenish pot with another round of ingredients, and once cooked, ladle out second helpings. Serves 6.
8 large leaves napa cabbage
14 oz spinach leaves
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Using tongs, lower stem ends of cabbage into the water and cook 1 minute, then submerge leaves and cook 30 seconds. Remove and drain in a wire-mesh sieve. Set up a bowl of cold water. Hold stem ends of spinach in boiling water 30 seconds, then submerge leaves another 30. Scoop out with a wire-mesh sieve and plunge into cold water to refresh. Divide cabbage into four piles and spinach into three. Smooth a layer of cabbage across the bottom of an 8-inch square pan. Smooth a layer of spinach on top and continue layering, ending with cabbage. Set pan in sink and press firmly with your palms to remove and drain liquid. Let sit 15 minutes before inverting pan and cutting into 12 pieces.