Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CSA week 18 - Momofuku scallion noodles with roasted cauliflower and quick-pickled zucchini

Momofuku is such a hot restaurant and cookbook right now and this recipe so easy, it's all over the cooking blogosphere. Oddly, nobody really tries to describe what it tastes like. I suppose it seems like it should be obvious--ginger and scallion--but like the Chinatown scallion sauce this is a refined version of (which I talk about a bit at the bottom of this post) there is a profound synergy here that has an electrifying effect on whatever food you use it with. You can read the chef raving about it here, but there's no reason not to just try it for yourself.

Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles

1 1/4 cups thinly sliced scallions, greens and whites
1/4 cup peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
1 fluid ounce grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/3 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 pound ramen noodles
Momofuku roasted cauliflower
Momofuku quick-pickled zucchini

1. Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

2. Cook noodles. Drain and toss with sauce. Top with cauliflower, zucchini and your protein of choice (I seared a handful of bay scallops). It's important to dress the noodles well. I found that the dish improved as a dug down into the bowl and got to where the sauce had dripped down.

Momofuku roasted cauliflower
[I just did a little more reading and found that the Momofuku cookbook just uses a simple pan-roasted cauliflower without the dressing. This works too.]

1 small head cauliflower
1 drizzle peanut oil
2 Tablespoons Thai-style fish sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small medium-hot pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon cilantro stems, finely minced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi [so-called Japanese seven-spice powder although it's mostly not spices. It's citrus peel, ground chilis, Szechuan pepper, sesame, poppy and sometimes hemp seeds and powdered nori]
[The stand-alone cauliflower recipe calls for toasting the shichimi togarashi onto puffed rice. I figured that would get soggy mixed into the noodles so I just added it to the marinade.]

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets. Toss cauliflower with the oil and spread on a baking sheet without crowding. Put in over and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once. Check doneness; the cauliflower should be tender and spotted with brown bits.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and lime. Stir until sugar is dissolved adding a little water if necessary. Add garlic, pepper, cilantro, mint and shichimi togarashi. Add a little more water if there isn't enough liquid to moisten everything.

3. When cauliflower is done, cool briefly and dump into the large bowl. Toss to coat and let drain as there should be excess dressing.

Momofuku quick-pickled zucchini
[The recipe originally called for cucumber, but zucchini is close enough and closer to hand.]

1 cup zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Toss zucchini in sugar and salt. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Like I said up top, the scallion and ginger merge into something more than the sum of the parts. It's fresh, sharp, a little tangy, a little salty. It's just gorgeous and it actually brings out the best of the noodles flavor rather than just using it as a vehicle. The zucchini doesn't add a lot, just some textural interest, really. It's interesting on its own but it's slight bite (surprisingly tart given the lack of vinegar) can't stand up to the sauce's intensity. The cauliflower on the other hand are sweet and earthy with a nice crunch to them. A really good combination of flavors and textures, really easy and using a lot of CSA vegetables I had on hand. Winner all around.

1 comment:

kat said...

This is so worth bookmarking, really interesting!