Amaebi head miso soup 甘エビのみそ汁

japanese cake
Heads of amaebi are most commonly deep fried but another popular way to serve them is to make a miso soup. Some Japanese restaurants may ask you how you want to have amaebi heads cooked after you consume amaebi sashimi or sushi (with heads as decoration). Since our shipment of amaebi from Catalina Offshore Products included rather large shrimp with roe, I decided to make their heads and roe into a miso soup.

First, I removed the heads and roe and used the tail meat as sashimi, which was excellent. I trimmed the antennae and placed shells and heads in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes. This is a similar process to making broth from any crustacean carcasses. Before you put the carcasses in water, they should either be sauteed or baked which reduces any fishy flavor they may impart which would occur if the raw carcasses were placed directly in water to make broth. 

For two generous  servings, I put about 500 ml (or 2 cups) of water in a pot and place the baked amaebi carcasses and heads (4 large). When it comes to a boil, skim off any scum that may form on the surface and reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. You could remove the heads and strain the broth but I just removed the shells and solids but did not strain. I added the roe and small cubes of tofu (optional). I dissolved the miso (I used red miso about 1.5 – 2 tbs) using a misokoshi みそこし or a small strainer and spoon. You must taste and adjust the amount of miso. Since, the broth is very flavorful you may not need as much miso as usual. When it comes back to boil, I add thinly sliced (on an angle) scallion for garnish and turn off heat. To eat, you have to use your fingers. Pick up the head and suck on the end to extract all the goodies including the liver. Or, like my wife who did a better job than I, you could also dismantle and extract all the small flavorful bits. Although we felt bad about eating the roe (these could have become millions of shrimp), they were also wonderful.

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