May 10, 2010
Everyone has favorite quick prep, no fuss recipes in their arsenal. In my arsenal, one favored ingredient for quick meals is buckwheat soba noodles. Once you have the water boiling the noodles go in for just 3 minutes. I am being generous in saying that this meal took 15 minutes from start to plate.
The evening that I enjoyed this dish I was dining alone. The particular brand of soba noodles that I buy has four bundles of noodles per package, and one bundle is perfect for one hearty serving. You could easily multiply this recipe to feed more, but you may want to enjoy this alone because there are 3 large cloves of garlic per serving (!). Trust me, this is not as overpowering as it might sound. Rather than crushing or mincing the garlic, use your best knife* and slice it into thin chips (but not Goodfellas-thin). Cut your garlic chips in half once, and then they are ready to fry. Lightly brown the garlic chips in oil for crispy, super-delicious goodness, being careful not to burn them (super not-delicious). Garlic lovers, this one is for you.
Quick Garlicky Soba Noodles with Asparagus
3.25 oz buckwheat soba noodles (give or take)
1-1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, trimmed, peeled, halved and sliced (see above)
1 medium shallot, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 - 4 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos, divided (or tamari, or soy sauce)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
10 stalks of asparagus, woody ends removed, chopped into 1" pieces
Prepare soba noodles according to packaging. When finished boiling, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Toast the sesame seeds in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often. Once they are lightly browned and aromatic remove them from heat and pour them into a small bowl and set a side.
Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic chips. They will start sizzling in the oil, watch them carefully and stir often. At the first signs of light brown stir in the shallots, and fry for a minute. Add a tbsp of Bragg's to deglaze the pan, which will also help prevent the garlic from burning. Continue to fry the shallots and garlic for 2-3 more minutes, until the shallots are softened, adding a litte bit of Bragg's one more time when the liquid cooks off.
Stir in your asparagus and fry for 3-4 minutes, adding a little bit of Bragg's as needed to keep things moistened. After a few minutes test a piece of asparagus and if it is crunchy-tender, it is done. Pour in your noodles into the pan but before stirring drizzle the sesame oil, 2 tbsp of Bragg's (or to taste), and sesame seeds directly on the noodles. Now toss everything together, and heat through. My total measurement for Bragg's is an estimate since I added a little bit at a time as I went, so you will want to taste the noodles and adjust as needed for your preference. (If anything my measurement is a little bit conservative). For a spicy kick stir in a bit of sriracha sauce or crushed red pepper.
*Speaking of knives, please indulge me and allow me to show off my new one!
I knew that my cutlery was not up to par (hello stringy cuts of celery and smushed tomatoes!), but I had no idea how really bad my knives were until I started using my new one. When I was researching knife options I discovered ceramic cutlery. Have you heard of this? I hadn't, but I was intrigued by the claims of being light-weight, super sharp, and always delivering clean cuts. Reading customer reviews of various ceramic knives the only negatives I found were that they cannot be used on bone-in meat (no problem there) and there is risk of chipping if dropped on the floor. Since I am not in the habit of dropping my knives on the floor I thought I would do well with a ceramic knife. I went with the black 6" ceramic chef's knife by Zayka (which comes with a free ceramic peeler, score!). When my knife starts to get dull I can send it in for a free sharpening (which is typical since ceramic knives cannot be sharpened at home). Though I am starting to think that even at it's dullest, this knife is still going to be better than any other knife I have ever owned. A good knife really does make all the difference, doesn't it? Haha, can you tell how happy I am?? If you are so inclined to share, I'd love to hear about your favorite knife and/or your experience with ceramic knives.
I'll leave you with another clip from Goodfellas, my favorite scene. Being a typical girl, my favorite scene in this mobster movie is Karen's first date with Henry at the Copacabana night club. Swoon!