Bonito, Japanese skipjack, is a streamlined, fast-swimming fish, common in tropical waters throughout the world, where it inhabits surface waters in large shoals of up to 50,000, feeding on fishes, crustaceans and mollusks of all sorts. Katsuobushi (or bonito, if you like) is the main ingredient in dashi, the “mother” to miso soup and, in essence, the Japanese equivalent of a Jewish mother’s chicken soup. So you know it’s good for you.
I make this broth to serve as a “tea” that can be drunk with grilled fish. I also employ it to make an egg drop soup, which includes a quail egg.
Read Norman Van Aken’s ode to bonito here.
- 12 ounces Chicken stock (or water)
- 1 2'' x 2'' piece konbu (dried Japanese kelp)
- 1 cup bonito flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- Bring konbu up to a simmer with the chicken stock.
- Add the bonito flakes.
- Simmer 2 minutes on a very low temperature, then remove from the heat.
- Add salt.
- Allow to steep 5 minutes.
- Stir, strain and use or keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.