Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snappy Shrimp Dinner & Korean Soba Noodles

Weeknights are hard. Considering the fact my refrigerator is now too small to hold more than a few days' worth of food, planning meals a week in advance isn't so much an option any more. So, while that cuts down on food waste, it also means I find myself stopping at the grocery store on my way home from work quite a bit.

It's nice to have a few meals that are quick and easy to prepare, making the after-work grocery trek not such a big deal time-wise. This shrimp dish is one of those meals. It includes some of my favorite quick-cooking ingredients (most notably, shrimp), with a few things you see me combine all the time: peppers, tomatoes, onions, white wine, and lemon. I love a sauce with a nice, acidic bite ladled over simple white rice. A healthy heap of spinach rounds it out nutritionally.



2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, put though a press or minced
1/2 lb. raw peeled, deveined shrimp
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 red chile pepper
1 can whole peeled tomatoes and all juices
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. white wine
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
several big handfuls raw baby spinach leaves
cooked white or brown rice

STEP 1: Place the rice in a rice cooker or cook according to package directions. While it's cooking, heat olive oil in pan over medium heat and cook onions and peppers (including hot chile pepper) until tender. Add garlic and cook another minute.

STEP 2: Add lemon juice, wine, about 3/4 of the parsley, and tomatoes. Break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir until well-mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Bring heat up to medium-high and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.

STEP 3: Add spinach to the pan and stir. Recover and cook for about 2 minutes, until spinach is slightly wilted.

STEP 4: Add shrimp, stir, and recover, and cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon shrimp and veggie sauce over rice. Top with remaining chopped parsley. Enjoy!

I got the idea for this easy noodle dish when browsing, an offshoot of Apartment Therapy, one of my favorite blogs. The original recipe (found here), was actually for Naengmyun, a Korean noodle dish served in cold broth. I thought the combination of pear, cucumber, and typically Asian flavors was interesting, and I thought it could be nicely adapted into a cold noodle dish - sans the broth, making it more portable as a workday lunch. I strayed from the original recipe, pumping it up with crisp green beans for a greater veggie-to-noodle ratio, but I tried to keep the spirit the same.



3 bundles buckwheat soba noodles
1.5 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 T. toasted sesame oil
1 one-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced and cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 T. Sriracha hot sauce
3-4 T. finely chopped green onions
1 ripe Bartlett pear, thinly sliced and cut into small pieces
handful cilantro, roughly chopped
1 fried egg (for serving), optional
thinly sliced cucumber, for serving, optional

STEP 1: Boil soba noodles and green beans together in a large pot of salted water. Drain.

STEP 2: Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine rice vinegar and next 6 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over noodles. Add pear and cilantro to pot and toss to combine. Thinly slice cucumber and place on top before serving. Just before serving, fry an egg and place it on top of the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

These noodles are so light and refreshing - perfect for a lunch that won't weigh you down or send you into a midday food coma when you should be pounding out headlines.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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