Pssst... I was supposed to post this yesterday... sorry!
Did you know that soba noodles are twenty dollars a pound!!?? A pound! I think the exact price was $19.98, so I'm exaggerating only slightly. (A pound!).
I let my daughter pick tonight's dinner recipe out of my newest little cookbook, and I was happy with her choice: a) it looked yummy, b) it didn't have too many major ingredients, c) she'd been wanting to try asparagus for awhile and d) I thought the shrimp might be a bit of a budget stretch, but doable. Never did I dream that the noodles would be our undoing.
I did not buy those noodles. Nothing against buckwheat mind you, but that is one little expensive Polygonaceae. Standing there in the "international aisle, " I decided to make a substitution. I bought brown rice noodles instead. Continuing on to the produce area for fresh basil, I made another financial discovery. Fresh basil is $4.99 a bunch. Ummmmm.... I have dried basil in a jar at home. Moving on! To...
Seafood! I had already decided to buy frozen shrimp to save a few dollars, but the bags of frozen shrimp were, yes again, twenty dollars! Granted, that was for two pounds, not one pound, but I couldn't do it. I picked up a pound of salad shrimp, and spent about seven dollars. Still kind of a lot for one dinner, but we won't make a habit of it. The two original items I did buy were a bunch of asparagus and the scallions.
Finally, I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that is uses sesame oil in the dressing. When you cook with sesame oil, no matter who you are, the food tastes like you know what you are doing.
Faux Soba Salad with Asparagus and Shrimp
Adapted from everday food
You will need...
one bunch asparagus ~ 1 1b, trimmed (see note in steps)
1 pound fresh, precooked salad shrimp
3/4 lb. brown rice noodles
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
dried basil to garnish
1) Wash and prepare asparagus. Did you know that you are not supposed to cut your asparagus when you trim it? Don't do it, or you could lose some good stuff, or keep some tough stuff. To do it right, bend the asparagus until it snaps at its natural "breaking point." Then you'll know it was "trimmed" in the right spot.
2) Start a pot of water boiling and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and cover when done.
3) Meanwhile, place asparagus in a pan or pot with salted water to cover. Bring to simmer and cook only 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. They cook fast!
4) While asparagus cooks, make your dressing. In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, oil, vinegar and sugar.
5) Remove asparagus from pan and set to side in small bowl. Keep the water!
6) Warm the precooked shrimp in the asparagus water. Just a quick dip and stir, then remove with slotted spoon. I didn't take a picture of this because little shrimp floating in pale green water just don't look... nice.
7) Divide noodles into bowls and drizzle dressing over noodles. Layer shrimp over noodles, and garnish with scallions and basil. Serve with asparagus spears alongside.
PROS: Only two cooking dishes used (plus dressing bowl), but they only had water in them. Easy clean up! Also, the dressing was delicious, and it was a great simple dinner.
CONS: This required several substitutions to make it affordable, so you don't get your soba. So be it...