Soba Noodles with Asparagus, Shiitake and Wakame
In this Japanese-inspired noodle dish, wakame, a deep-green edible seaweed, adds a briny counterpoint to the slippery noodles and crisp asparagus spears. Look for it at natural foods markets and Asian stores; it’s well worth the hunt.
- 2 Tbs. dried wakame or mixed sea vegetables
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) soba noodles
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 2 tsp. peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 lb. (375 g) asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed and spears cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths
- 1 cup (3 oz./90 g) shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean, stemmed and sliced
In a bowl, combine the wakame with 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) cold water. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Drain the wakame, squeeze out the excess water and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil together until the sugar dissolves; set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to keep them from overcooking; set aside.
In a wok or large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until aromatic, 20 seconds. Add the asparagus and mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add 2 Tbs. water, cover and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes, depending on the spears’ thickness.
Uncover, remove the pan from heat and add the noodles and soy sauce mixture, tossing to coat. Divide the noodle mixture among shallow bowls. Top the noodles with the wakame and serve warm or chilled. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Ivy Manning (Weldon Owen, 2013)