Club Soba

Part of having a food blog means you talk about the foods you ate (or didn’t eat) as a child. Generally, that implies a certain amount of discussions involving your favorite dishes, a secret recipe, or in some cases, those dishes you still can’t seem to stomach even after almost 30 years of watching family members eat it – collards would be that dish for me, as I’ve mentioned recently, although I just might have to give them a try again, thanks to a reader’s suggestion.

Might would be the key word there…

Sometimes, I forget about all the little things I used to eat growing up, and occasionally dishes creep ever so sneakily back into existence. Dishes such as fried onions, which are not to be confused with onion rings. You see, I think of onion rings as battered and deep fried, eaten with a generous dollop of ketchup or some fat-laden dipping sauce, and they’re especially yummy with a juicy steak cooked ‘on the barbie’, if you catch my drift. Onion rings are outta this world; don’t get me wrong.

But here, I’m referring to the unbattered version. The thinly-sliced, slightly caramelized, and pan-fried in just a tad of oil type of circular onions, or shallots actually. Even better when they’re fried to a crisp, mostly black and crunchy, still sweet and juicy in the middle.

Now, growing up these onions were not served over a bed of Asian-flavored soba noodles and centered between lime-marinated shrimp. But hence my point – the onions were what really did it for me in this dish, and for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on why, but then it hit me. I remembered those slippery caramelized onions, some soft and some crispy, that my dad used to make to serve alongside dinner. Remember – he doesn’t like green veggies, so he slides in potatoes and onions when he can. I don’t complain.

And while I’m certain these onions would be nothing short of remarkable without the accompaniments, the shrimps and noodles aren’t half bad either. Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour (which is gluten-free and has nothing to do with wheat), have a taste distinct from traditional pasta in that they’re nutty and earthy. They’re high in protein and fiber, and they love to be mixed in a bowl of soy sauce and other Asian flavors and topped with these crunchy shallots and garlic, not to mention the shrimpies.

Ever tried soba noodles? Have a favorite soba dish? Share away :)!

Soba Noodles w/ Shrimp & Crispy Shallots
Adapted, from Food & Wine, March 2010; serves 4

a perfectly healthy dish for a weeknight dinner that utilizes a sometimes-forgotten noodle and those scrumptious fried shallots and crisp garlic.

printable version 

6 ounces soba noodles (Eden Organic, preferably)
1/4 c sunflower oil (or canola)
3 T low-sodium soy sauce*
3 T tamari*
1 t agave syrup
2 large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/2 t crushed red pepper
Lime wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the soy sauce, tamari and agave syrup. Add the noodles and toss.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until golden and crisp, 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the paper towels.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir in the shrimp and season with salt. Grill the shrimp over high heat, turning once, until glazed and just white throughout, 3 minutes. {to save dish-washing, you can also saute these in the skillet you used above}

Arrange the noodles on a large platter. Sprinkle with the scallions, cilantro, crushed red pepper and the fried shallots and garlic. Arrange the shrimp on top and serve with lime wedges alongside.

*gluten-free available

6 thoughts on “Club Soba

  1. Melanie Sasaki says:

    oops….please disregard my previous comment wrote it in the wrong place, but this looks absolutely wonderful

  2. junecutie says:

    I love soba noodles. I also love lime Shrimp and all the other ingredients in this dish, so this is a no brainer. However, I’m being distracted by the idea of having a picnic with friends under the cherry blossoms. I want it all! Does that make me a bad person?

  3. Sangdi says:

    Soba noodles are amazing! They’re good cold and hot!

    Have you tried somen noodles? They’re so good as a cold noodle salad during the summer! 😀

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