Chef David's Miso Soup
Along with sushi and tempura, Miso soup is probably among the most widely known Japanese dishes in the world. In Japan, most people eat this nourishing soup at least once a day. The ingredients in miso soup, or Misoshiru, can vary according to the taste of the individual, but Japanese custom dictates that there be a variety of contasting colors, flavors and textures: some ingredients should float and some should sink.
A Japanese chef friend once confided that the secret of his flavorful miso soup was in his blend of both white and red miso paste. The red miso, he said, gave it a little extra flavor.
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Rinse and remove the tough stem with scissors. Slice the caps thinly and set aside.
Soak a few pieces of wakame seaweed in cool water, if using.
Bring the stock to a gentle boil in a saucepan, add the mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes. Mix the miso with a little of the hot stock in a small bowl, then add to the pot. Add the tofu and wakame. Just before the soup comes to the boil, remove from the heat.
Place one shrimp into each bowl. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the sliced scallions.