This recipe is versatile, lending itself to numerous substitutions with ingredients and flavors, but the triad of garlic, scallion and ginger is always the base. Mushrooms add depth and texture, elevating this from a side dish to main meal. Although the ingredient looks long and the directions complicated, it really does come together quickly once the veggies are chopped. Soba (buckwheat) noodles with their earthy flavor and chewy texture, are the preferred noodle for this recipe, but any long noodle will work well, including ramen or linguini. Wonderful as room temperature leftovers the next day.
GARLIC SCALLION NOODLES with SEARED MUSHROOMS
Serves 3 to 4 as main dish, 5 to 6 as a side dish
- 2 tablespoon garlic, minced (4 to 6 cloves) OR 1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes for milder garlic flavor
- 1 inch knob of peeled fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cups scallions (green onions), thinly sliced (3 or 4 small bunches)
- 1 to 2 tsp dried hot Asian chilis, crushed (or red chili flakes or favorite hot chili powder)
- 1/4 cup favorite oil (canola and grapeseed are neutral tasting and the norm, but I love sunflower oil in this dish), plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 to 2 T honey (or brown sugar)
- 1 T soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 tsp rice or apple cider vinegar (or favorite sweet vinegar or citrus juice)
- pinch of salt and ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 oz of favorite mushrooms (shiitakes, oysters and chestnuts work really well), sliced or torn into bite size pieces
- 1 tablespoon of oil from sauce
- pinch of salt
- Soba noodles, 8 oz
- Favorite garnishes of julienne carrots, sweet peppers, spinach and/or swiss chard, thinly sliced radishes, quick sweet refrigerator pickles, and herbs like mint, basil, perilla and cilantro
- Toss together the garlic, ginger, scallions and chilis in a large, heatproof bowl and set on a heat proof surface. I use a favorite metal mixing bowl and a trivet or wood chopping board to protect counter. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup of oil until hot and just shimmering, but not smoking. This will only take a minute or two. Carefully pour over the scallion mixture, toss with a spoon to coat. Set aside to let the ginger, garlic and chilis marinate in the oil.
- Meanwhile, place a colander in the sink and start a large pot of water boiling on the stove.
- Over medium high heat, in the same skillet, add an additional 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot and shimmering, add mushrooms, tossing quickly to coat with oil. Add a pinch of salt. Sear mushrooms for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, but allowing the edges to caramelize and crisp. 4 to 5 minutes. If mushrooms are dry and not cooking through, add a splash of water to the hot pan and let steam a bit until just tender. Set pan aside.
- When the pot of water has begun to boil, add noodles, stirring immediately to keep them from sticking to each other. Continue to stir occasionally and cook 3 to 6 minutes (depending on package directions). Drain as soon as the noodles are tender. Rinse quickly with cold water to stop the cooking process, but do not rinse for long.
- Add honey, soy sauce and vinegar to the garlic scallion mixture. Mix well, until honey is dissolved. Add more honey, soy sauce and vinegar to taste, until you get that nice balance of salt, sweet and acid. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the rinsed, but warm, noodles to the garlic scallion sauce and with your clean hands, gently toss to coat. Alternatively, a wooden spoon works too.
- In bowls, pile the noodles. Top each bowl with seared mushrooms and garnishes of choice.