Nothing illustrates chef Hisachika Takahashi's culinary philosophy as well as his soups do. His broths are gentle intermissions between courses, with complex flavors that reflect the ingredients used throughout the meal. If you are using canned chicken broth, refrigerate the cans for an hour or two and discard the congealed fat from the surface.
This recipe is actually served in two partsfirst come the slightly steamed oysters, then the light, aromatic broth.
How to Make the Ultimate Umami-Bomb Vegetarian Demi-Glace
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 fish bouillon cubes, dissolved in 6 cups water
1 bunch of celery, tops trimmed, separated into ribs
2 bunches scallions, trimmed
1/2 cup finely julienned peeled fresh ginger
1 lemon, thinly sliced, ends reserved
3 dozen oysters, scrubbed clean
1 teaspoon each finely chopped parsley, cilantro, ginger and shallots
In a large, deep flameproof roasting pan, combine the chicken stock, wine and dissolved fish bouillon cubes. Arrange the celery in the pan with all the ribs facing the same direction. Arrange the scallions perpendicular to the celery. Scatter the ginger and reserved lemon ends over the vegetables. Cover the pan with foil, set it over 2 burners and bring the liquid to a boil.
Arrange the oysters on the floating vegetable mat. Cover the pan with foil and simmer until the oysters just begin to open, 3 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the oysters to a platter. With a knife tip or a small spoon, open the oysters and tip some of their juices into the broth. Serve the oysters warm or at room temperature.
Continue to simmer the broth until it is reduced by half, 35 to 40 minutes. Strain the broth into a medium saucepan, then ladle it into small bowls or rimmed soup plates. Garnish with the lemon slices and a pinch each of the chopped parsley, cilantro, ginger and shallots; serve piping hot.