Seasonal cooking is obviously the big buzzword among a lot of the food obsessed these days. It doesn't quite have the annoyance factor of the term "locavore" quite yet, but it's coming. Not that it's a bad thing, but why does everyone have to trumpet it like it gives them so much faux-cred. Just cook locally and quit talking about it for christ's sake! San Diego chef and cookbook author Su-Mei Yu is also big on seasonal cooking, but on a whole new holistic level. Not exactly using what's in season, but cooking according to what the body needs to cope with the seasonal weather changes. A pretty fascinating concept, I have to say. Also pretty damned delicious if her soba noodles & shrimp dish are any indication. This was a cover recipe on a recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine. One of those things as soon as I saw the pic I was so in. Thai noodles and grilled shrimp? Oh yeah! So why is this so seasonally appropriate right now? According to Su-Mei when explaining why you don't want to skimp on the lime wedges "The sour juice protects the respiratory system in the early spring and cilantro helps when you're congested." Works for me. This is another one of those dishes that I'd be more than happy to be served in a good Asian restaurant. The best part for all of us at home is it's fast and simple and delivers so much for the minimal effort. Now I don't know if this was just w and my appetites the night we had it, but the recipe said it's enough for 6. Um, we finished every...last...scrap between us. Maybe she meant 6 small first course portions. Or 6 small Asians. Or maybe we're just overfed Americans. Whatever, just be forewarned you won't be able to stop eating this fabulous dish!
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Soba Noodles with grilled shrimp & cilantro
from Food and Wine Magazine/ Su-Mei Yu
6 ounces soba noodles
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon agave syrup
2 large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (deveining not necessary, fyi- bb) Salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Lime wedges, for serving
1-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.
2-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.
3-Light a grill or preheat a grill pan (but really, light the grill. the extra flavor is so very worth it!- bb). 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.
4-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.