adventures in craft beer and real food

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Asparagus Aspirations: spring noodles

I adapated Nouilles Printaniéres (spring noodles) from the FCI's Salute to Healthy Cooking. Surely the French will be calling for my extradition any moment now. From a purely technical standpoint, this dish is an exercise in timing. Different kinds of vegetables need to be done the moment the noodles are done.

In my interpretation of the classic, I sweated two ramps and scallions in butter until pleasantly aromatic and the ramps had lost much of their garlicy pungency. Meanwhile, I blanched peas and asparagus until the green colors became pronounced and were just short of being done. Then, I set the ramp-scallion mixture and cranked up the flame under my pan so that I could get a quick sauté. I threw in a large zucchini (julienned) along with the asparagus spears and peas that had just been blanched. Once slightly caramelized, I added a peeled julienne of red bell pepper. Just before serving, I added four mushrooms that had been thinly sliced into the pan and continued to sauté until the mushrooms developed an initial brown color. Finally, I added the ramps and scallions back in.

Meanwhile, I cooked egg noodles in water flavored extravagantly with tarragon. Ideally, one should use long straight noodles. I used short curly noodles instead to clean out my cupboards.

To complete, I added the noodles to the vegetable mixture and stirred until well mixed. I served it in shallow bowls garnished with a bit of chopped tarragon and a dash of EVOO.

I drank Wollersheim Prairie Fumé with dinner, which I found slightly overpowering. One would almost need to whip out a good German wine famed for its transparency to make the most of this dish. If a bit of Emmentaler or Parmesano-Reggiano cheese were grated on top, the combination probably would have worked better.

An authentic pilsner or tripel would probably be great matches, too. The former latching onto the bitter side of caramelized flavors, while the latter would pair with the sweet side of caramelization.

No comments: