Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Try an Asian Noodle Bowl

Lucky enough to have a chill in the air?  This will warm you.

The featured recipe in this post reminds me of a Vietnamese noodle bowl, but cookbook author Sheila Lukins says it is inspired by the noodle soups of Indonesia.  This dish is basically an aromatic fish and noodle soup.  It uses cod and tons of chicken stock, fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro and shallots. 

I had a package of frozen cod and was looking for a creative use for it.  My recent library visit resulted in the book Ten, which is a compilation by Lukins of 32 different foods we are presumed to love.  She provides 10 recipes for each, and each recipe she considers a "10."    Are you following this?  What a convoluted idea for a cookbook! 

Anyway, emerging from the chapter on fish is a recipe for Ginger-Lime Cod in a Bowl.  The heavenly aroma will have everyone in the house asking, "What's for dinner?"  Be forewarned, this dish dirties lots of pots and pans and involves loads of chopping - a great meal if you have a sous chef handy (or child labor).  It's also ideal for dieters.  If you aren't concerned about calories, serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Ginger-Lime Cod in a Bowl
(Ten by Sheila Lukins)

For the fish:
2 C chicken broth, preferably homemade
4 sprigs cilantro, lightly crushed
4 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, sliced and crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 pounds cod fillet, cut crosswise into six 4-ounce pieces (try to keep the pieces similarly sized by trimming off the thin area on the bottom of each piece)

For the serving broth:
2 T. olive oil
2 medium-size shallots, minced
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced fresh ginger
6 C chicken broth, preferably homemade
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For finishing the dish:
12 ounces angel-hair pasta
1 head broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into small florets
2 ripe tomatoes, each seeded and cut into 8 pieces
4 scallions (white bulbs and 3 inches green), thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
6 lime slices, for garnish
4 T. thinly sliced fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1.  Prepare the fish:  Combine 2 cups of chicken broth, cilantro, parsley, garlic, ginger, salt, and 2 cups water in a large skillet.  Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, add the fish, and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spatula, gently transfer the fish to a plate; set it aside.  Discard the cooking broth and seasonings.

2.  Prepare the serving broth:  Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the broth and the cinnamon sticks, partially cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Season the broth with salt and pepper.  Let it steep, covered, for 15 minutes.  Then strain the broth into another saucepan and set it aside until serving time.

3.  About 15 minutes before serving time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions  Drain, and set it aside.

4.  While the pasta is cooking, bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the broccoli florets, and blanch them lightly, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain the broccoli and set it aside.

5.  To serve, reheat the serving broth.  Arrange the cod, pasta, tomatoes, and broccoli in a pinwheel fashion in each of six shallow soup or pasta bowls.  Top each serving with a cup of the hot broth, and sprinkle the scallions on top.  Place a lime slice in the center of each bowl, garnish each with the basil, and serve immediately.

Notes:  I didn't have any scallions, but I think they would add a nice crunch.  Be sure to season well with salt and pepper or this dish will be bland.

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