Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cod with Soba Noodles and Spicy Tomato Sauce

I was paging through the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. and a picture of some fish in a Hunt's tomato advertisement just imbedded itself in my imagination and would not leave.  So when I found myself with some cod last week I thought I'd give the recipe a try.  I didn't have all of the required ingredients and I was far too lazy to go to the store, so I improvised.  (I couldn't find the recipe on the Hunt's site, so you won't be able to see the mezmerizing photo, but I've included the recipe at the end of this post.)

cook's notes:

- I didn't have any fresh cilantro, so I just left it out. It was just as well, because my husband and daughter both think cilantro tastes like soap.

- I also left out the toasted sesame oil, which is one oil I don't own.

- We really don't like sugar added to our savory food, so I didn't put it in. It may add some amazing flavor note, but I'll never know.

- I used kale instead of napa cabbage.

- During the browning phase my fish didn't really turn golden, but it did manage to cook almost all the way through. I didn't need to simmer it for more than a few minutes to finish the cooking - nowhere near the 20 minutes the recipe specifies. In fact, the fish was so flaky that it pretty much fell apart in the process of cooking and serving the dish. I found it tricky to have two things in the same pan - the fish and the kale - that needed to be cooked at the same time to particular optimal levels of doneness.

- I doubled the red pepper flakes because we love spicy food.

- My dish looked nothing like the picture in the magazine. Nothing.

the verdict:

This dish has a definite Asian accent, which I found surprising - but not unpleasant - in a tomato-based dish. We all liked it; my husband and daughter were even bigger fans than I was.

A.L.E.'s comment: "This is the stuff."

The soba noodles had a great texture and the kale was in that perfect state just between crunchy and tender. The red pepper added a kick without dominating the dish. I do think I would have liked the cilantro in it.

I will keep this in the rotation, especially when my daughters are visiting, since they love Asian and fish dishes.

the recipe:

Cod with Soba Noodles in Tomato Broth (Hunt's)

4 ounces soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles), uncooked
2 tablespoons Pure Wesson Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 small cod fillets, patted dry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Cook soba noodles according to package directions; cool; set aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute ginger and garlic about 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3. Season cod with salt/ pepper. Add cod to skillet and cook 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned.

4. Stir in undrained tomatoes, broth, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, simmer 20 minutes. Remove cod from skillet; set aside.

5. Add lime juice, basil, cilantro, sugar and sesame oil to skillet; combine. Add cabbage and soba noodles. Simmer, uncovered, 1 - 2 minutes until cabbage is tender.

6. Divide noodle mixture among 6 bowls; top each with cod. Ladle additional broth over cod and noodles. Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately.


Megan said...

I cook the same way you do - which is to say that I improvise greatly if I don't feel like going to the store.

But I must say, the fish looks like something everyone in my house would eat, so that's going into my bookmarked recipes!

Steph said...

I love soba noodles with just some soya sauce. Your version also sounds delicious with the fish and tomato sauce, but maybe minus the heat... i have low tolerance to spicy foods, which totally sucks!

Reeni said...

I like the changes you made! I would have to cut back on the red pepper for my family. Cod is one of my favorites, I'm always looking for new ways to make it, this is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I have so many recipes calling for soba noodles, and I've yet to try them. I would have to leave in the cilantro (isn't it interesting how some peple have a natural aversion to cilantro? Not me. I love it! This sounds like a nice interplay of flavors: basil ginger, lime red pepper flakes... all favorites of mine!