This wonderfully tasty soup was inspired by my brother, Chris, who lives with his family in a tiny village in the Spanish Pyrenees. He was telling me about a soup he makes with the huge, fleshy, Spanish onions which are abundant at the moment. Chris gave me a brief run down about how he makes the soup and I took mental notes. Well, as luck would have it, later in the day I walked into Wholefoods, and right there in the veggie department were huge onions. I cannot remember the variety, but I imagine any large, fleshy onion will work perfectly.
So, not missing a chance to create something new, I bought a couple of the large onions and went straight home to experiment. Slicing the onions offers the opportunity to have a good cry if you need one! It was well worth the sore eyes. The soup proved to be super delicious. My brother made his soup with marmite, not an item in my pantry, so I used miso and the warm, complex flavor it added was perfect. Here in the USA I am very partial to the miso made by South River. On this occasion, I used their Golden Millet variety.
I topped off the piping hot bowl of soup with black sesame seed gomasio for the contrasting colour and the fragrant saltiness. This black sesame gomasio is an excellent condiment to have at hand to add a little flair to many dishes. As I delight in the visual aspect of food, this black gomasio is perfect as the final flourish for rice or quinoa dishes, as well as many soups. It makes me smile when friends say, “Oh the colours are so beautiful!”
Sesame seeds are a good source of iron and calcium as well as vitamins A and B. However, they are also high in oxalic acid which may prevent the absorption of the calcium. To neutralize the oxalic acid, soak the seeds overnight. The black sesame gomasio is at its best when fresh, so I tend to make small batches, though it will keep well for several days in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge. It is quick to create if you remember to soak the seeds. Black sesame gomasio is always a delight to make as I love the fragrance that fills the kitchen when toasting the seeds.
Serves: 4 – 6
Time: 50 minutes
2 large onions, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cups hot water
4 tablespoons miso
Tamari or good quality soya sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
What to do
Place the thinly sliced onions into a medium sized saucepan. Allow the onions to brown a little for a few minutes over a high heat. Add the garlic and stir for another minute or so. Add the bay leaves, cover the saucepan with a lid and turn down the heat.
Let the onions cook in their own juice for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the onions to be sure they are not drying out or burning. They should be simmering gently and becoming very translucent and soft.
Next add the hot water and miso to the pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the miso.
Cool a little and remove the bay leaves. Ladle about 1/3 of the onion soup into a high speed blender (preferably a Vitamix) and blend until very smooth and creamy.
Tip this blended soup back into the pot and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Season with freshly ground pepper, and if more salt is needed, add a little tamari. Serve piping hot and sprinkled with black sesame gomasio.
Black Sesame Gomasio
½ cup black sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
What to do
Rinse the sesame seeds in a sieve. Place in a jar or bowl and cover with water (filtered if possible) and leave to soak overnight.
When ready to make the gomasio, drain the sesame seeds well and tip into a skillet over a medium heat. As the seeds warm up and begin to crackle, be sure to stir constantly. When the seeds are deliciously fragrant, tip them into a pestle and mortar along with the salt. Grind with a circular movement until the gomasio is coarsely crushed.
It is best to store the black sesame gomasio in tightly sealed jar in the fridge. Enjoy at its best within a few days and then make some more!