Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soba Noodles with Sesame Roasted Eggplant

So I have to apologize for a rather extended absence (for me) from the blog.  Work went from busy to absolute insanity and I haven't eaten dinner at home for over a week.  Yeah.  And it's not like I have been going out to dinner - I have been eating dinner at my desk.  Every night.  Seamless Web is my new best friend.  Last night I didn't actually eat dinner, but after working so many days around the clock all I wanted to do was have a glass (or two) of wine and then pass out.  So that is what I did.  But now that I finally got home at a reasonable hour this evening, we are cooking!  And after all of those nights eating random food at my desk, all I want is a meal that is on the lighter side with vegetables - lots and lots of vegetables.  And with the CSA and my week-long absence, all we really have in the fridge is vegetables, so it works out.

When I started thinking light and vegetarian, somehow I started thinking about tossing eggplant in sesame oil and shichimi togarashi, before roasting it and serving it on top of a cold soba noodle salad.  Then I started thinking that a cold noodle salad topped with hot eggplant sounded a little weird, so I decided to serve the eggplant on top of a warm soba noodle salad.  After a week of catered lunches and delivered dinners at my desk, this was such a lovely home-cooked meal.  It was everything I wanted it to be, although Alex was trying to figure out how to cook the eggplant differently.  Perhaps next time we will broil it to give it a little more char on the outside, and a nice smooth interior that just melts in your mouth.  I see what he means, but I liked the dish fine the way it was.  The flavors were really nice, and this was the perfect meal to (almost) end a long busy week with.

Recipe after the jump!

Soba Noodles with Sesame Roasted Eggplant

1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, separated
2 tsp sesame seed
1/4 tsp shichimi togarashi
1/2 cup scallions, greens and whites, thinly sliced 
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
7 oz. soba noodles

Place cubes of eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Allow to drain for 30 minutes, to remove excess moisture.  Rinse, drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Toss eggplant with 1 tbsp sesame oil.  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Remove from the oven.  Empty eggplant into a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, sesame seeds, and shichimi togarashi.  Toss to combine.  Add scallions and set aside.

In a small bowl combine garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, soy, 1 tbsp sesame oil, and sugar.  Set aside.  Stir to combine.  Meanwhile, cook soba noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package instructions (generally about 4 minutes).  Drain and add noodles to the mixing bowl with the eggplant.  Pour dressing over top and stir to combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.  Taste, and season to taste as necessary.


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