Have you ever found yourself with leftover broth from a bowl of Pho? Probably not. It's a stupid question, and since the foundation of this post is stupid, the entire post may well be stupid. This, you'll note, has never stopped me before.
But sure, you may, at some point in your life, find yourself with some leftover, flavorful, took-a-long-time-to-make, pho broth. Perhaps by accident, due to illness, habitual over-ordering, or maybe if you made a bunch. Especially if you've made a bunch, as I did a few weeks ago.
I'm not going to delve into recipes for pho, as there are plenty on the internet, but you'll basically need water, some good marrowy bones (like the dirt-cheap "cow bone" I found at H&Y in Ridgefield, NJ), star anise, sugar, fish sauce, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, maybe some garlic, ginger, onions. This is basic supermarket stuff, people.
If you want specifics, I based my pho broth off of several on the internet, including this one on serious eats. I'll note that the step to boil the bones to de-scum should not be skipped. I didn't skip it, and once you see that scum, you'll know why. I can't come up with a use for the scum. No need to save it. Of this you are assured. Off you go. Make a lot. Make extra.
I froze that pho broth and pulled it out for a proper pho a few days ago. What a meal, complete with Thai basil, mung bean sprouts, raw onion, sliced hot peppers, wedges of lime, all the standard fixins'.
Was it wonderful pho? Of course it was wonderful pho as far as you know. And sure thing, as if by design, there was some leftover broth. I sure as shit wasn't going to throw it out. Into the fridge it went until the next day.
The next day...
- I sauteed Chilean Seabass in olive oil, finishing in the oven. Use whatever fish you'd like.
- The leftover pho broth was reheated.
- Shallow bowls were set up with some mung beans, thin thin thin slices of raw onion, and Thai basil. I suppose regular basil would be fine, but Thai basil, my goodness, Thai basil.
- When the fish was ready, I dumped some broth over the onions/basil, placed the fish on top, and poured the rest over the fish.
- On top of the fish went chopped cilantro, Thai basil, mint, hot peppers, chopped scallions and a squeeze of lime.
And from the leftovers from the night before, we had one of the finest meals of the year. Intense flavor, little effort.
I should note that no one on the planet has ever done this before, other than me, and that was in 1998 when this genius move first occurred to me. I know this because I cannot find any reference to this type of treatment of leftover pho broth anywhere on the internet. You can thank me, world, by trying this for yourself.