If there’s anything better than a Farmer’s Market to stimulate me to get into the kitchen and create a fresh, seasonal recipe, I can’t think what it would be. Warm weather and long sunny days have already descended on the Bay Area, and with that comes an abundance of early-season produce. This morning I found leeks, garden peas, fava beans, green onions and shiitake mushrooms, all of which figure in this light, yet comforting udon noodle recipe. At my local Asian supermarket I picked up a package of fresh udon noodles. Using these precooked noodles makes an already easy dish go together even faster, and I find these noodles to be thicker and more succulent than noodles cooked from dry. A caution: often these noodles come with a favoring packet full of weird ingredients–just toss it away! Start with a well-seasoned stock, and you’ll end up with a hearty, satisfying lunch or dinner. I’ve added only a little soy sauce, there’s no ginger or garlic or spice or oil, so the favor of the fresh vegetables, salmon and noodles really shines. And I think you’ll appreciate that this recipe requires only one pot, and comes together in under 30 minutes. Happy Spring! (Full recipe after the jump)
Udon Bowl with Salmon and Spring Veggies
Serves one very generously, or makes two medium servings
Make this gluten free by substituting lightly-cooked wide rice noodles for the udon. Make it vegetarian by substituting seasoned, pressed tofu for the salmon.
3-4 cups vegetable stock
2-inch piece of leek, washed and cut into thin half rounds
1 small carrot cut into thin half rounds
3-4 fresh shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), cut into thin slices
soy sauce or tamari to taste
one 7-ounce package of fresh (already cooked) udon noodles
2-3 leaves of a small napa cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 ounces of fresh salmon filet cut into small bite-size pieces
5-6 fresh garden peas, shelled
3-4 fava beans shelled, and skins peeled from each bean
a small handful of arugula (optional, but really good)
1 small green onion, trimmed and cut into thin rounds
1. Bring the stock just to a boil (stock made with good quality vegetable bouillon cubes will be fine)
2. Add the leek, carrot and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
3. Season to taste with soy sauce (how much you need depends on the salt level of your soup stock)
4. Add the udon noodles and the napa cabbage, and simmer 3-4 minutes more. Once the noodles have absorbed some of the stock, loosen them up using a wooden spoon or a chop stick.
5. Add the salmon and napa cabbage and simmer 2-3 minutes
5. Add the peas and fava beans and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the arugula, if using, and immediately pour into one or two bowls.
7. Garnish with the green onions.