Crispy Soba Noodle Cake With Winter Greens and + Six Minute Egg
Vegetarian (not vegan)
Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
(And we’re mixing.)
This is a stunning dish that is perfect for a cozy night in or to impress a table of dinner guests. It has a few steps, but each is really simple and results in a crunchy, warm, fatty yet clean, satisfying (and relatively healthy) supper. Serve it with a cucumber salad and a bowl of boiled edamame for a well-rounded meal, or eat it on its own after practicing yoga with Susan and recuperating on your couch watching your favorite reality tv show.
For the soba noodle cake:
1 package of soba noodles (or you can use just about any other long, thin noodle here)
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
4 scallions/green onions finely chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch
vegetable or canola oil
For the greens & egg:
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1-2 tablespoons of fresh, minced chili pepper (I like red jalapeños)
1 large bunch of winter greens (collard greens, kale, rapini, chard, or a combo of these), washed and spun dry, hard ribs removed and discarded, and greens chopped
½ cup of either water, vegetable stock, or white wine (whatever you have around)
¼ cup soy sauce
As many eggs as you and/or you guests would like to eat
Then what do you do with all that?
Boil the soba noodles according to the package’s directions. Drain them and put them back into the pot you cooked them in.
Stir in the soy sauce, the sesame oil, the scallions, and the cornstarch. Pour the noodles into a large, greased (you can use more sesame oil or any other oil) baking dish and spread them out into one, even layer. Use wet hands to press the noodles down as flat and as hard as you can. Cover the dish and put it into the refrigerator for at least an hour.
While the noodles chill, make the greens. Cover the bottom of a large sauté pan with sesame oil, and turn the heat on medium. Sauté the garlic, ginger and chili until they are soft.
Dump the greens into the pan, add the water/stock/wine, and the soy sauce, stir, and cover the pan with a lid or with tin foil for about 3 minutes, or until the greens have softened. Uncover the pan and allow the majority of the cooking liquid to evaporate on low-medium heat. Set aside, off the heat.
Remove the noodles from the refrigerator. Use a drinking glass, a large round cookie cutter, or empty tube of cookie dough (I’m not judging you) to cut out disks from the cooled mass of noodles. Heat a large pan with canola or vegetable oil and place the discs into it. It’s important not to overcrowd this pan, otherwise the noodles won’t get crispy! If you need to make a few batches, that’s ok. You can keep them warm in an oven set to 275 degrees. Fry the soba noodle cakes on one side for about 4 minutes or until it is crispy. Flip it over and do the same on the other side.
While your soba noodle cakes are staying warm in the oven, boil a small pot of water. After the water has begun to boil, use a spoon to drop as many eggs as you desire into it. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Don’t question it. Just do it. Drain the eggs, rinse them in cool water so they cool down enough to touch, and drain them again.
Assemble the dish! Place one soba noodle cake on a plate. Smother it in greens. Peel an egg and place it on top of the greens. Drizzle a little more sesame oil over the egg. Cut into the whole thing and eat your heart out.
*You can make all of these components in advance. The pre-fried soba noodles can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator so they are ready to be cut and fried whenever you like. The greens can be made up to three days in advance and re-heated whenever you need them. The eggs can be boiled (for 6 minutes only) and placed immediately into ice water to stop the cooking and placed in the refrigerator up to three days in advance. To re-heat them, drop them back into boiling water for 1 minute.