Golly! I love noodles! I plan to wax eloquent on this dish, but first...
A few months ago, I'd never heard of Yotam Ottolenghi. Then, I happened upon the I Heart Cooking Club and a unique challenge to devote time to one particular chef. A new challenge group was embarking on exploration of this Israeli/Brit chef with a mad following of folks and a few restaurants in the vicinity of London. Hmm. I wondered who this guy was and so I started digging around on the web and in the library and found recipes so interesting and novel compared to my usual take on food that I knew I had to snag a place on this club's wild ride.
And here I am a few months later, having made some beautiful dishes, explored some new spices ... having eaten really well! My top three dishes flavour-wise are these.
Sweet and Spicy Beef and Pork Pie
Making this full of cinnamon and spice pie and then dropping eggs atop was such a revelation. I've since done the egg drop on a couple other dishes and have loved what a cozy feel it gives. The crust on this pie was ultra crispy and crunchy too - I found that really tasty and fun. For a meat eater, this pie is just drop-dead good!
Stuffed Portabellas With Melting Tallegio
These little baby Portabella mushrooms were just so sumptuous - the herbs and the cheese were soft and delish and mellowed out the strong sun-dried tomatoes that packed a real punch in each little mezze bite!
Spiced Red Lentils
This lentil dish is just pure comfort food - solid basic fare that is nutritious, filling, and such an easy meal to put together after a busy day ... we all need those perfect dishes that are good for you and fast. Don't you think? Otherwise, if you're like me, you go for a cheap food fix that is usually way over there on the junk food side of things.
Good food, all! But this week, I plan to go out with a take on Soba Noodles that sounds so very interesting! I have had a yen for Asian food the past few days, so a pan-seared fillet of salmon is coming off the grill pan tonight with these beautiful noodles that have fried eggplant and cool sweet mango ... this is just beautiful! And with a couple glasses of crisp white wine, I intend to glide into my Friday evening and relax with a good book and some baseball on the television.
Thanks Yotam for an ever-inspiring take on vegetables and spices --- the past few months have been so refreshing!
Now, about those noodles ...
This is a dish for saying good bye also ... goodbye to the end of summer and fresh eggplant and herbs from the gardens and sunny lunches and dinners on the back porch. It is such a wonderful riot of flavours! There's the citrus and vinegar sweet dressing that packs a zip from garlic and red chili pepper, the sweet tang of mango, the soft bite of fried eggplant, and all those noodles that slip and slide and cling to green cilantro and basil. The whole wonderful mess drips the dressing, so lean in on this dish and enjoy! A pretty perfect meal ... the leftover noodles? Saturday morning breakfast.
Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty
½ c. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, mashed
½ fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
Zest and juice of one lime
1 c. canola or sunflower oil
2 medium-sized eggplants, chopped to ½ -inch cubes
8 – 9 oz. dry soba noodles
2 mangoes, sliced to long thin slivers
1 ½ c. basil leaves, cut to thin ribbons
2 ½ c. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ red onion, cut into thin slivers
Making the Dish:
- Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and toss in the garlic and chili pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Heat the oil in a deep fry pan and fry the eggplant in batches (single layer in the oil) until it is golden on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander that’s placed over a plate. Salt each batch as you take it out of the oil. Let the eggplant cool and drain over the plate. Set the fried eggplant aside to cool.
- Boil the water in a stockpot and cook the soba noodles until al dente – about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Add the lime zest and juice to the dressing and stir well. Toss the noodles with the dressing, the onions, mango, half the green herbs. Carefully fold in the soft eggplant and sprinkle more green herbs atop the dish.
Serves 6 generously
Note: The dish can be served warm or you can let the dish sit for an hour or so to absorb the dressing a bit.