Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ginger Scallion Noodles with Seared Sea Scallops

Readers of this blog know I am a fan of the Momofuku restaurant empire. I could bathe in the ramen and live solely off the cookies. When David Chang's cookbook came out last year though, I was hesitant. First it was just kinda expensive, retailing for $40 in most places in NY, and second, the buzz was that the recipes were uncookable. These were not the pandering recipes of most restauranteurs, dumbed down to what a home cook could accomplish, with most of the especially rare ingredients and labor intensive methods edited out. David Chang had basically written a cookbook where he more or less tells you (employing varying levels of profanity) exactly how he creates the weird and wonderful food he serves. And for a restaurant, the lengths they go to are great, since all they do in their lives is cook and they charge a markup on all ingredients used. For a home cook, however, most of the recipes are a bit out of the question, both in execution and pure cost of ingredients. I am not going to take ten hours to make chicken wings, with instructions like "While the wings are confiting, make taré." I need a lot more patience and a French to English dictionary.

There is someone who has taken on the challenge, however. On her blog "Momofuku for 2" which I referenced last week, a blogger named Steph is working her way through this cookbook. Crazy Canadian. And while I have no intention of risking my sanity doing anything similar (something Will is grateful for) the pictures and descriptions on her site were too much for me. I bought the book.

It was worth it, if only for the great stories about trying to open a restaurant in NYC and the insane photography by Gabriele Stabile. As I flipped through it, among the recipes that referenced other recipes, the kimchi, the daikon, the cold smoking and the pickling (oh my god the pickling) I actually turned up a recipe or two I'd be willing to attempt. You know, without the special soy sauce. Or the sherry vinegar I couldn't find. Or the way too expensive Grapeseed Oil that I found for a better price a week later. I also may have not realized how much water those noodles absorb. Damn. So really, it was Momofuku like. Since he totally cops to ripping off the dish from New York Noodletown, I don't feel too guilty. After I had settled on what noodles to make, I decided to top the dish with scallops. For my searing method, I looked to another recipe he had for Roasted New Jersey Diver Scallop, though I omitted the rest of his recipe and used plain old sea scallops because I'm wary of things originating from New Jersey. Well, that or those simply weren't on sale this week.

Ginger scallion Noodles with Seared Sea Scallops
Adapted (or butchered) from the Momofuku Cookbook


For the Noodles:
-8oz packaged Chinese or Japanese Ramen Noodles
-1 1/4 Cup thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites) from 1 large bunch
-1/4 Cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
-2 tbsp Sunflower Oil (or Grapeseed if you have it)
-3/4 tsp Soy Sauce
-1/4 tsp vinegar
-1/8 tsp Cooking Sherry
-little less then 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the Scallops
-1 pound Sea Scallops
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp unsalted butter
-Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, and salt in a bowl. Taste, add more salt if needed. Let sit at least 15 minutes. Cook noodles according to package directions, making sure to use at least 8 cups of water. Drain, toss with sauce.

While noodles are cooking heat the olive oil until it's hot but not smoking. Dry the scallops with a paper towel and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan one at a time, leaving space between them, and lightly press down on each one with a wooden spoon to ensure the entire face of the scallop browns evenly. After about a minute and a half, when the scallops have begun to turn opaque, add the butter to the pan. Tile the pan back toward you and use a large spoon to scoop up the melting butter and baste the scallops with it. Continue to cook them on the same side for another one and a half minutes, until the side facing the pan is deeply browned but the scallops are not entirely cooked through. Remove the scallops from the pan to a paper towel lined plate to rest, browned side up. (If you are a bit of a coward like me, you may flip each scallop for about 10 seconds just to be sure the other side got some heat. This will result in some browning of the side that is not supposed to be browned.)

Serve noodles in individual portions, and top with 2 scallops. If it is your taste, drizzle with a small amount of soy sauce.
I was very pleased with how this turned out. I may have minced some of the ginger a little too large, resulting in some rather surprising bites, but overall it was a tasty dish, with the buttery scallops complementing the fresh tastes of the sauce, and the saltiness of the soy balancing it all nicely. I gobbled it down and felt more then a little smug heating up some leftovers at the office the next day. It was basically college food made sophisticated. Maybe there's something to this Momofuku cooking after all. Watch out Pan Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Miso Butter. I'm coming for you.


Cajun Chef Ryan said...

This really looks good, and I would add some garlic too for something like this noodle dish with the ginger.

Bon appetite!

Mhel said...

I just had scallion dumplings for lunch. I think the dumplings will work too with the noodles....

bonnie said...

what a great recipe..I would love to try this..yum


denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

A very simple but undoutedly delicious recipe. If I were in a restaurant and this was on the menu, I would soooooo order it!

Anonymous said...

well i know what i'm making for dinner this weekend. looks like a trip to the japanese market is in order.

Rachel J said...

I am loving this dish b/c it seems like a faily simple easy dish to do to a novice Asian cook like myself. Wondering tho if Sesame oil can replace the sunflower? Bookmarking this under 'recipes'! ^_^

Epicurette said...

I did find it to be a very good "starter" recipe since I'm unversed in Asian cooking. I wouldn't use sesame to replace the sunflower, the whole idea is to use a "neutral" oil and sesame is very flavorful and might overpower things a bit.

Catherine said...

You have such a wonderful site here! This looks like a very yummy recipe!

the twins said...

looks really good! i've never been to momofuku's, momofuku milk bar, which is awesome.

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