- Yield: 4 Servings
For the Lemon Balm and Mushrooms
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
- 4 ounces dry shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves
- 1 large bunch fresh lemon balm (about 6 stems, 6–8 inches long)
- 1 lemongrass stalk, crushed lightly
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sake
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons dry bonito flakes
- 8 cups (2 quarts) water
For the Crab-Grapefruit Salad
- 4 ounces Dungeness crabmeat
- 1 Rio Star or other ruby grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
- 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
- ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lime
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Noodle Clouds
- 8 ounces udon noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained on paper towels
- 2 cups (16 ounces) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon furikake or shichimi togarashi seasoning
- 1 teaspoon furikake or shichimi togarashi seasoning, for the finished dish
How to Make It
To Prepare the Tisane
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Warm over low heat for 30 minutes. The mixture should reduce by about half. Cook a few minutes more if needed.
- Remove from the heat, cover, and let the mixture sit 20 more minutes to infuse.
- Line a fine-mesh sieve with a coffee filter (to help get a very clear broth) and slowly pour the mixture through it. Don’t push on the solids. Refrigerate the broth if you will not be completing the soup in the next 30 minutes. To Prepare the Salad
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing them lightly. Refrigerate until needed. To Prepare the Noodle Nests
- Line a baking sheet with several paper towels.
- Warm the oil in a medium saucepan to 325°F to 330°F. Drop in a quarter of the noodles, stirring them around to fry evenly. Fry for about 30 seconds, until crisp.
- Remove them with a spider or large slotted spoon as one nest of noodles, and transfer to the paper towels. Sprinkle with furikake seasoning. Repeat with the remaining noodles and furikake. Putting it all together
- Reheat the soup, if needed, and pour it into a pitcher.
- Arrange 4 soup plates or broad soup bowls on a work surface. Make a pretty pattern of garnishes in each bowl. Arrange the salad in the middle of the bowl and tuck leaves around the salad. Arrange a noodle cloud over each salad.
- Set a bowl in front of each diner. Pour equal portions of the soup into each bowl, pooling it around the garnishes. The noodle nest will be only partially submerged. Eat right away.