Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Salmon and Soba Noodles in Ginger Broth

Needed something completely different to counteract the overindulging we did over the weekend, so this recipe appealed to me. And it is super easy. It's a meal in one dish, and very tasty. Plus it combines two of my current food interests: how to incorporate more fish into our diet and buckwheat.

Buckwheat??? Yes, more on that tomorrow.

All of the ingredients were readily available at Weggies. Soba noodles were in the International section, under Japanese cuisine. The shiitake were pre-cut and bean sprouts were pre-packaged. We had the salmon fillets in the freezer.

Salmon and Soba Noodles in Ginger Broth
adapted from Food & Wine's Quick from Scratch Fish and Seafood cookbook, pg. 155

Serves 4

1/2 pound buckwheat noodles, look for Japanese Soba noodles (or whole wheat linguine)
2.5 cups chicken broth (I used 2 small cans)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 2-inch-piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3 scallions including green tops, cut into thin slices (I used shallots)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into thin slices
1 pound salmon fillet, skinned, cut into 4 pieces (I used frozen fillets)
1 quart spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
1/4 pound bean sprouts (about 1 cup)

In a medium size pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles, per the package, until almost done. For whole wheat linguine, plan on 12 minutes. For Soba noodles, it only takes 3 or 4 minutes.

Here's what soba noodles look like. They are made of buckwheat. I used two of the three wrapped sections in the bag.

In a large saucepan, combine the broth, sherry, soy sauce, ginger, scallions (I substituted shallots), and salt (I skipped the salt).

Bring to a simmer and continue simmering, covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile I washed and spun the spinach.

And washed the bean sprouts. My package wasn't as fresh as I thought they should be, so I thought I'd better give them a bath.

Added the mushrooms and the salmon to the broth and simmer, covered, until the fish is just cooked through, about 6 minutes for a 1/4 inch thick fillet. I started with the salmon frozen so it took a little longer. Remove the salmon from the broth. And set aside.
Add the spinach to the broth and let it shrink so you have room for the noodles.

Stir the pasta, spinach and bean sprouts into the broth.

Cover and simmer until the pasta is finished about a minute more. Put the noodles and vegetables into serving bowls. Top with the salmon, and ladle the ginger broth over the top.

Slurp away!

Since I was cooking for 2 instead of 4, the first day I poached salmon fillets, and saved the rest of the pot in the fridge.
Then on the second day I poached large shrimp, again starting from frozen and letting them gently simmer until done, about 3 minutes. They will turn pink and stiffen a little, but don't overcook the shrimp.

I liked the shrimp better than the salmon, but then again, I am not a huge salmon fan. I eat it because I think should eat it, because it's good for me.

And I think I'd improve the broth if I knew enough about Japanese food to know what to change. Maybe my next door neighbor, Masako, could give me some ideas for a good hot pot broth. She is in Japan, caring for her elderly mother, but I will ask when she gets back.

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