Rosie Hawthorne’s Recipes: Using Your Noodle – Soba Noodles

By on September 21, 2019

Scallops and Soba Noodles

 

Sometimes in the simplest dishes, we find the most complex flavors. Such is the case with soba noodles.  Soba noodles, a staple of Japanese cooking, are made from buckwheat, which is a relative of rhubarb and sorrel.  Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, so soba noodles are a good gluten-free substitute for regular durum wheat-based pasta. Some soba noodles will have wheat flour added to the buckwheat, along with other additives, so if you’re going gluten-free, check the labels.

Soba noodles, as opposed to boxed store-bought pasta, actually have flavor. And that flavor is not cardboard.  Soba noodles are earthy and nutty and have a slightly chewy texture – firm but yielding.

Cook the noodles according to package directions as timing will vary from brand to brand.  Since I’m adding a seasoned sauce to the noodles, I don’t bother to salt the cooking water.  You want to cook the noodles al dente (“to the tooth”) – tender, but retaining their chew.  Drain the noodles, then rinse under cold water to stop further cooking and to remove the excess sticky surface starch in order to keep the noodles separate and to avoid clumping.

Once you’ve cooked your soba noodles, you can simply slurp up a tangle of noodles bathing in broth, you can dip them in any number of seasoned sauces, or you can use them, as I am, in a seafood dish.

 

Scallops and Soba Noodles

8 oz. soba noodles

1 lb. scallops

1 cup frozen peas, heated through (Please don’t use canned peas.)

2 scallions, sliced

½ cucumber, diced

handful of toasted peanuts

1 TB toasted sesame seeds

Fresh mint leaves

 

Peanut oil

2 TB unsalted butter

 

Sauce

2 TB ginger juice

¼ cup lime juice

1 TB soy sauce (Tamari sauce for gluten-free.)

1 tsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients.

 

For ginger juice, I buy whole gingerroot, then cut into 1-inch cubes and freeze. When a recipe calls for the juice, I simply nuke the cubes and squeeze or run through a garlic press.  You’ll get more juice this way than with fresh ginger.

 

To cook scallops:  Over medium high heat, pour a film of peanut oil into a skillet and add a tablespoon of butter. When the butter is sizzling (about 375°) add the scallops one at a time.  (These are large sea scallops – 10 to a pound.)  Cook for 2 minutes each side, then remove from pan.  Reduce heat, pour in sauce, scraping up the goodie bits on the bottom where all the flavor is, and stir for about a minute to reduce and concentrate flavors. Add a tablespoon of butter for enrichment. Swirl to melt.

Plate noodles with scallops, add rest of ingredients, and pour sauce over top.

With soba noodles as your base, you can diversify this dish however you like. I always have shrimp in my freezer, so a good meal is only a thaw away.  Here’s a one-bowl noodle salad with crisp vegetables, succulent shrimp, and a flavorful sauce.

 

Shrimp and Soba Noodles

8 oz. shrimp, cooked and chopped

8 oz. soba noodles

 

Sauce:

juice of one lime

1 TB rice vinegar

1 TB sugar

1 TB soy sauce (If you’re going gluten free, use Tamari sauce.)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

pinch each kosher salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients.

 

Additions:

¼ cup slivered carrot

1 TB chopped onion

¼ cup small-diced squash and/or zucchini

handful toasted peanuts

parsley and/or cilantro

 

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Rinse, drain, then toss with ½ tsp sesame oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce.  Add shrimp, onion, squash, and peanuts.  Pour sauce over and toss to coat.  Top with parsley and/or cilantro.

 

Enjoy!

 

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