Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring Vegetable Ramen

Last Year's Post:  Chicken with Shallots
Two Years Ago:   Pan-Seared Tuna with Capers and Red Wine Sauce

If you're looking for a light, healthy entree to counter-balance a heavy food episode or just want to cut down a little, give this recipe a try.  The broth is warming and fragrant with garlic, ginger and sesame, and the miso adds a deep umami flavor.  (You can usually find white miso - the mildest variety, near tofu at well-stocked supermarkets.  If you can't find it, the broth will be good anyway.)  The vegetables add nutrition and crunch,and the egg is great protein.  You could always add or substitute some shredded chicken for the egg if you want a more substantial meal.

I love the black sesame seeds for drama, but toasted white sesame seeds would work just as well.  And I couldn't resist adding the watermelon radish simply because I found one at the grocery store.  They're not all that easy to find but very pretty.  Funny story:  I thought the radish would stump the cashier for sure, but she just kept right on going and never missed a beat.  When I told her I thought it was going to stump her, she said "I've been a cashier for 25 years so I don't get stumped easily".  The woman in back of me said she'd never heard of a watermelon radish and the cashier told her it was also known as a shallot.  Not quite!  Shallots are mild onions, watermelon radishes are radishes.  Oh

I've been reading a fair amount about how to hard-boil eggs lately because I've had trouble with the shells sticking and ripping up the whites.  Turns out the best tip is to boil the water first, then gently lower in the eggs.  Cook 6 minutes for soft-boiled (runny yolk) or 8 minutes for hard-boiled (hard yolk), then immediately place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Works really well - the shells don't stick at all.

Spring Vegetable Ramen
Serves 4

4 eggs
1 bunch slender asparagus, trimmed
6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 bunch green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons white miso
1 ½ tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodle soup, seasoning packets discarded
Black or white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Sliced watermelon radish, for garnish (optional)

Hard-cook the eggs:  fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs and bring to a boil, then gently lower the eggs into the water.  Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 8 minutes.  Remove the eggs and immediately place in a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process.  When completely cool, remove and pat dry.  Shell the eggs and cut in half.

Cut the tips off the asparagus, then cut the spears into 1” lengths.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus spears.  Let boil for 1 minute, then add the asparagus tips and the sugar snap peas.  Boil an additional 30 seconds, then remove all with a slotted spoon and place in an ice water bath (save the water and keep it hot).  When cool, remove the vegetables from the water and pat dry.  Slice the sugar snap peas diagonally into 3-4 pieces each.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Add green onion whites, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add water, chicken broth, miso, soy sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, bring to a rolling simmer.  Add the mushrooms and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the ramen noodles in the boiling water left from cooking the vegetables.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes until soft.  Drain.

To serve, divide the ramen noodles between wide shallow bowls.  Ladle in the broth mixture and mushrooms, then top with asparagus and sugar snap peas.  Garnish each bowl with 2 eggs halves, sesame seeds and watermelon radish slices.  Top with green onion tops and serve.

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