Arsip Tag: ribboned
Spring arrived while I totally wasn’t paying attention. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. Over the winter, this was hardly a discomfort but now that we’re getting glimpses of the warm weather to come, I’m finding it harder to look out my kitchen window at these people walking down the sidewalk with their sandals and short sleeves and a pep in their step and an air of freedom around them I can sense even from four flights up and not feel consumed with envy. The other day, as I wearily approached round five of something I was stupidly convinced I’d nail on round one, I saw one of these not-sweating-it-out-in-a-shoebox-kitchen types carrying a bundle of tulips and I had to close my eyes for a minute and imagine myself somewhere I’d rather be. And then I walked out of the kitchen and went there.
You see, I’ve been avoiding the Greenmarket as well. It’s been a Brownmarket for over half a year and there are only so many cold storage apples and yams one can stomach before they fall for the ever-freakishly-ripe berries the street carts are selling. But it was nearly May and sticky as July outside and I had a hunch that things had improved while I was buried under pots and pans. And lo and behold, stands were bursting with things that had been recently plucked from the ground: spinach! ramps! bright pink orbs of radishes too! asparagus for miles! And as I brought home my first haul of the season — and a little package waiting downstairs — I knew exactly what every single one of us must do this very second with the asparagus.
A year ago, I signed a cookbook contract — no the cookbook isn’t finished yet, I mean, what cookbook? — and to celebrate, my editor and I went out to lunch at the Union Square Cafe. I ordered the asparagus salad and was presented with something fascinating — raw asparagus, thinly shaved, and heavily decked out with parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was, to be honest, overdressed, as if it were self-conscious about being uncooked but I ate the entire tangled plate just the same. Then I came home and turned it into a pizza for you but this time around, I think we should do it as a salad proper. With a peeler, a lemon, some pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil, you are minutes from turning your first bundle of asparagus stalks ribbony salad, and possibly question why you ever bothered cooking asparagus at all.
One year ago: Homemade Pop Tarts, Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Leek Bread Pudding
Two years ago: Russian Black Bread and Ranch Rugelach
Three years ago: Brownie Roll Out Cookies and Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Four years ago: Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives and Barley, Corn and Haricot Vert Salad
Ribbony Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
Inspired by the Union Square Cafe
This is such a fun way to celebrate the first asparagus of the season you bring home. And yes, I just reread that sentence and am fully aware that the concept of “celebrating asparagus” would have made me roll my eyes a few years ago, like maybe I’d been burning too much patchouli. But when you start trying to eat along with the seasons, you realize how long the winter is on the East Coast and begin to eagerly anticipate the day in spring when the first green things pop from the ground. Round here, that’s asparagus. And when it is as fresh as you can get it now, there’s no reason to cook it, not when you can turn it into a pile of ribbons and twist them around like spaghetti on your fork.
There are no exact measurements in this recipe. Everything is to taste, so taste as you go along to make sure you’re getting all the Parmesan, nutty, and lemony flavors you want.
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled
1 pound asparagus, rinsed
1 lemon, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese
No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler is easiest, but I’ve used a standard one successfully) to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip, peeling away from the tough end in your hand. [Updated] Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling. Gently pile your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of Parmesan right off the block, over the asparagus. Sprinkle with some toasted nuts. Repeat with remaining asparagus, a third of the remaining bundle at a time. Eat immediately.
* I toast mine in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s really important, especially with pine nuts, that you stay close and toss them frequently because they love to burn, but if you move them around a bit, you can get a wonderful, even coffee coffee color on them and an intensely nutty flavor. It makes even unfancy nuts taste amazing.
In times of lots of worry and little sleep, like most of us, I return to my comforts and staples: avocado toast, a great pot of meatballs, and as many ways as I can find to intersect noodles and eggs. While I am fairly certain I could live off this fiery, crunchy spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs for the rest of my life, as bits of spring have been in the air, I am always ready for fresh takes on cold noodles.
Flipping through Heidi Swanson’s wonderful Near & Far a few weeks ago, I became entranced with the cold soba salad in part for the ingredients but really it was the footnote at the end that stayed with me: “Serve topped with a poached egg or an omelet sliced into a whispery-thin chiffonade.” Whispery-thin chiffonade. Could anything be so lovely? I imagined the strands of eggs tangling with the strands of noodles, punctuated with a sesame-seed flecked sauce and crispy raw vegetables and I needed it in my life.
And then, as these things happen, a few days later I was clicking aimlessly around the web while I should have been, I don’t know, writing a cookbook or responding to email and fell down a summer ramen rabbit hole. Sure, we’re all about the ramen everywhere these days, but as the weather warms up in Japan ramen shops add a chilled ramen [Hiyashi Chuka Soba] to their menu, usually topped with, among other things, those ribboned eggs that charmed me. The dressing uses ground sesame seeds, sesame seed paste, vinegar and sesame oil, which you know means it will be amazing and the options for etceteras are as long as your imagination (or as deep as the odd-ends of your vegetable drawer go, though imitation crab, cucumbers and tomatoes are the most common). That said, dishes like this can get complicated quickly and we’re firing on fewer cylinders these days, so I attempted to hone in as much as possible on the eggs and the noodles. When it’s actually summer here, I’ll probably pile on more seasonal vegetables.
One year ago: Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Two years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Three years ago: Coconut Bread
Four years ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways
Five years ago: Sally Lunn Bread and Honeyed Brown Butter Spread
Six years ago: Breakfast Pizza
Seven years ago: Migas with Tomato Chipotle Coulis
Eight years ago: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake
Nine years ago: Italian Bread
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
1.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Slaw
2.5 Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake
3.5 Years Ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Sesame Soba and Ribboned Omelet Salad
Inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Near & Far and No Recipes’ Goma Hiyashi Chuka [Sesame Ramen Salad], dressing from the latter
- I know I sound like a broken record, but I would love to convince you to always toast your nuts and seeds before using them. For sesame seeds, you can do these in a skillet over low heat but you must watch it like a hawk and stir often because once they start picking up color, they go from golden to brown very quickly. This time I did it in a 350 degree oven, stirring every 5 minutes (I also go ahead and do the whole jar, so I have them for the next time). It took longer but the flavor was off the charts. When I ground the seeds, the whole apartment smelled nutty and wonderful.
- The water in the omelet ribbons may sound odd, but I found the final texture of the eggs a bit softer and more apt to ribbon without breaking with it. If you’d like, you can use mirin (sweet wine) instead of water, and skip the sugar.
- I love using soba (buckwheat) noodles here but ramen noodles are more traditional, and most rice noodles or rice “sticks” are gluten-free. You can make this a vegan dish by omitting the egg ribbons.
Serves 4 for dinner
4 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons soy sauce (use low-sodium for a less salty sauce)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tahini
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar, or more to taste
Chili sesame oil to taste
Neutral cooking oil, to coat skillet
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons water
A few pinches sugar
A few pinches salt
1 9.5-ounce package buckwheat soba noodles
Raw vegetables of choice (we used julienned carrots, cucumbers and radishes, plus some snipped chives on top, which have recently reappeared in my garden!)
Make the dressing: Put the toasted sesame seeds into a blender or food processor and run the machine until the seeds look like wet sand — it will take a couple minutes. Add the water, soy sauce, tahini, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and chili sesame oil and blend until combined. Taste and adjust ingredients to your preferences.
Make the omelet ribbons: Whisk eggs with water, sugar and salt until well-blended and even in color. Heat a 10-inch skillet (I really like using a nonstick here and for other crepe-like things) over medium and coat very lightly with cooking oil. Pour in 1/3 of mixture, which will be enough to coat the pan very thinly. (If your pan is bigger or smaller, use less or more accordingly per batch, the goal is to keep the egg very thin.) Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the egg has set and the edges look dry. Carefully flip* the omelet and cook for 20 to 30 seconds on second side. Flip egg out onto paper towel to blot oil and repeat 2 more times.
Stack the three omelets together and roll them into a log. Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into very thin ribbons, thinner even than you see in my photos.
Cook the noodles: In well-salted water until tender but firm for the time recommended on your package of noodles, usually 4 to 5 minutes. Drain noodles and run cold water over them to cool. Drain again, shaking out excess water.
To serve: My favorite way for a family meal is to put everything out in separate dishes and let each of us assemble to taste. (Or, if you’re this one, grab the bowl of egg ribbons and help yourself.) Or, you can toss the noodles with about half the sauce, then arrange it in a bowl with the omelet ribbons on top, followed by your vegetables. Garnish with extra sesame seeds and serve with additional sauce on the side.
* One day, when I have video on this site, I will demonstrate my crepe-flipping “method” for you but hopefully this will help until then: I use two thin spatulas (such as offset icing spatulas or a flexible fish spatula). The first smaller one goes under the edge and lifts the omelet/crepe enough that I can hold the second larger spatula in my other hand and slide it under enough that it goes past the center of the omelet/crepe. From here, it’s easier to flip without tearing.