Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Soba and shrimp with broth

No big story here. Just a simple, satisfying meal to recover from indulgence over the long weekend that turned out well so I had to write down what I did before I forget! I will say that it's perfect for a cool spring evening, though.

Soba and shrimp with brothServes 2

One 400g package whole (head on) shrimp
5 cups water
4 fat scallions, white and green parts separated and green parts thinly sliced
Golfball-sized piece of fresh garlic
2 Tbsp shaved bonito
2 pieces (about 2"x5") dry kombu
4 Tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin

1 package shimeji mushrooms (oyster are a good substitute)
100g sugar snap peas
100g dry soba noodles
2 tsp peanut oil
2 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Salt and more water
Shichimi togarashi to taste

Put 5 cups of water in a kettle to boil. Remove heads and shells from shrimp, clean the shrimp and reserve. Bruise the white parts of the scallions with the back of a knife and whack the ginger with a pan or rolling pin hard once or twice to crush it open. Add heads, shells, scallions, and boiling water to a medium pot. Bring just to a boil and simmer for at least half an hour. The kitchen will smell deliciously shrimpy. Fill the kettle to boil again.

Fish out shells, scallion, and garlic from broth and turn off heat. Add bonito and kombu and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the kombu and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Rinse and wipe the pot to get rid of any stray bonito, then return the broth to the pot. Add soy sauce and mirin and set aside.

Use boiling water from the kettle to fill a large saucepan, then fill it again to top up. Salt generously and keep at a rolling boil. In another bowl, prepare a large ice bath. Add peas and boil until they are bright green, then remove the peas from the water and dunk into ice water while bringing water back to a hard boil and using the kettle to fill the pot with lots of water to allow noodles to cook evenly. Add soba and cook until just finished (don't let the noodles get too soft!)

While the noodles are cooking, strain the peas, shake dry, and toss with 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Divide peas between two plates and season with shichimi togarashi to taste. As soon as the noodles are finished, strain and pour into ice bath to stop cooking and cool. When they are cold, strain and toss with 1 tsp sesame oil. Divide between plates.

Bring the broth back to a boil while you cook the mushrooms and shrimp. Skim off the foam when it boils - the broth should be dark but clear.

Add peanut oil and 1 tsp sesame oil to a frying pan. Add the shimeji mushrooms and sauté for three minutes. Add the reserve shrimp and sauté with the mushrooms until just cooked. Divide hot shrimp and mushrooms between the plates, placing them next to the cold noodles and peas. Divide the very hot broth between two bowls. Scatter scallion greens over broth and noodles.

Serve with broth on the side, or add the noodles and toppings to the broth as desired.