Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

When I started food blogging part of my excitement came from making my fellow bloggers recipes. Usually, these recipes came from the folks I was networking with on Foodbuzz, and though there were some great successes, most dishes fell in the middle, usually good, but rarely palate revolutionary, supporting the notion that the further away you get from the source, the more diluted the information becomes.  I found myself gravitating back towards sources I knew to be reliable, such as Mark Bittman’s old column. So when I came across this recipe on his site, from his book Food Matters, I did a little jig and ran off to buy edamame beans. Asparagus are starting to show up here in the Northeast fresh, dark green, crispy and grown in New Jersey.  I will eat them non-stop until the season ends, and what I can’t shove in my mouth right at the second, I will pickle ad nauseum.

This dish is vegan, delicious, simple, travels well, tastes wonderful hot, cold or at room temperature and was a huge hit at the Memorial Day barbecue. You can use any soba noodle you find, which are buckwheat by definition, if you can’t find them, you can substitute any whole grain noodle. I highly recommend staying with whole grain because that makes this dish even better for you.  I was lucky enough to chance across wild yam soba noodles and can’t sing their praises loudly enough. I doubled the recipe below and found that was enough as a side salad for 20. and would have served 10 as a main.

Steamy Soba

Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

1 1⁄2 pounds asparagus, peeled if thick, cut into 2-inch lengths

Salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1⁄2 cup chopped scallions

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 ounces soba noodles

2 cups shelled edamame, fresh or frozen (I threw them into the wok frozen and they heated through just fine)

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

1⁄4 cup mirin, or 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or chili of choice, if you crave a little heat)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put a wok, (or large skillet) over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oil, wait a few seconds, and add the asparagus and scallions, you will get a nice sizzle. Cook, stirring, for a minute, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Cook until the asparagus is dry, hot, and beginning to brown and get tender, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the pan from the heat. (I cooked mine for a little less time because I like my asparagus crispy, about 4 minutes)

Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Check them frequently, soba noodles very quickly go from done to mush and will cook in around 3-4 minutes. Drain the noodles, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Turn the heat back on under the asparagus to medium. Add the noodles, edamame, soy sauce, mirin, and about 1⁄2 cup of the reserved water to the skillet; continue to cook, stirring, until the asparagus and edamame are heated through, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can serve immediately by dividing the noodles among bowls, as I mentioned I served this at a barbecue and it help up all afternoon, there was not one noodle left.

Soba

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