Words by Joe Yonan (c) 2018, The Washington Post
Here's a way to transform soba noodles that's so good and easy you don't need to wait until you have leftovers to make it.
It's a simple idea, based on spaghetti pie or pasta frittata but without the need for eggs, or even a true sauce. You cook the soba noodles briefly, like pasta, then toss them with a few Japanese favourites - scallions, tamari, sesame oil, ginger and a touch of chili oil. Pack them into a skillet, roast at high heat until the edges are browned, then cut into wedges, top with more scallions - and hot sauce, if you're feeling spicy - and serve.
The flavour is great, but it's the texture that really sells this, particularly that contrast between the crisped bottom and top edges and the softer, almost creamy interior. Bonus: If the noodles are 100 percent buckwheat (my preference), they're gluten-free.
While you're at it, you might as well boil twice the amount of the noodles, because you're going to want to make this again. Soon.
Soba Pancake With Scallions and Ginger
8 ounces dried soba noodles
1/4 cup trimmed and thinly sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (may substitute gluten-free tamari)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger root (from a 1/2-inch piece)
4 drops chili oil (optional)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
Position an oven rack to the lowest spot; preheat to 500 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and the chili oil, if using, tossing to coat evenly.
Pour the peanut oil into a 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the noodle mixture, pressing lightly and spreading it evenly. Roast (lowest rack) until crisped and deeply browned on the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the pancake cool slightly, then run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Use a large spatula to slide it out onto a cutting board and cut into six wedges. Top with more scallions and serve warm, with hot sauce, if desired.
Adapted from "The Runner's World Vegetarian Cookbook: 150 Delicious & Nutritious Meatless Recipes to Fuel Your Every Step," by Heather Mayer Irvine (Rodale, 2018).
Feature Image: Deb Lindsey, The Washington Post