Saturday, June 5, 2010

Noodles!: Dragon-Fire Noodles with Shrimp

I love noodles. I love every darned thing about noodles. I love them hot. I love them cold. I love them buttered, sauced, and naked. I love them bland and comforting, and, yes, I love them spicy as all heckfire. Noodles! And, it's been a long while since my noodle love got to shine through here at Take One Cookbook. So, let's take a look at The Wine Lover's Cookbook: Great Recipes for the Perfect Glass of Wine and see what noodly goodness we find.
Dragon-Fire Noodles with Shrimp
Recommended Wine: Pinot Gris/Grigio
Alternative Wine: Riesling

This dish is an adaptation of a recipe from my friend Barbara Tropp, whose former China Moon restaurant and incredibly wonderful cookbooks set the standard in contemporary Chinese cooking. This fiery noodle recipe demonstrates how well a fruity wine with good acidity can counterbalance chile heat. A very light, crisp Italian pinot grigio would be the best choice here.

1/4 cup hot chile oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Thai chile paste
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-salt soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped pickled ginger ...
2 tablespoons juice from pickled ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound Chinese egg noodles
1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped ...
1 roasted yellow bell pepper, peeled and chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
Garnish: white or black sesame seeds and minced green onions

In a large mixing bowl, combine oils, chile paste, soy sauce, pickled ginger and juice, lemon juice, vinegar, mint and lemon zest and whisk together. Adjust seasonings; mixture should be hot and spicy but not tongue-numbing. Add shrimp to mixture and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large soup pot, bring salted water to a gentle boil. Carefully add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente. Strain noodles thoroughly and return them to the pot. Add about a tablespoon of the marinade to the noodles to prevent them from sticking, and combine well. Cover.

In a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add shrimp along with marinade and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until shrimp are just cooked through. Add shrimp and marinade to the noodles and heat the entire mixture.

Just prior to serving, add the roasted peppers and cilantro leaves and mix thoroughly. Garnish with the sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately.

This dish can be served in smaller portions in a wine-friendly Asian meal with the Asian-Style Grilled Squab with Fennel, Bok Choy, and Chanterelle Mushrooms ....

Serves 2 to 3 as an entrée or 4 to 6 as an appetizer.
Finally, a serial comma! Just the one, though.

I don't believe in noodle dishes as appetizers. I believe in noodle dishes that fill the plate and the belly. So, um, don't think about serving 6 with this, if I'm coming over.

I've recently finished reading the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik (on my Kindle, which I love, even though/because it makes getting the next book in a series (any series) so darned easy). If you're unfamiliar with them, basically, it's about a British naval officer during the Napoleanic war, and, well, there's aerial support for the navy battles...from dragons. Trust me, it actually works. The main dragon enjoys Chinese food (really, in context, it makes sense), and likes it hot and spicy; I love that this fiery dish tips its hat to dragons.

I'm not usually a big pinot gris fan. Pinot noir, sure. Pinot blanc, naturally. But pinot gris reminds me of working on a Christmas tree farm--the smell and taste of dirt. So, I'd go with a riesling, but your mileage may vary. The key descriptors are "light" and "crisp"--stay away from any oaky, buttery white.

Let's talk food safety for a bit here; unless you're going to cook the noodles with sauce and shrimp for a good long while (more than just heating through), you need to change the method. After you make your marinade, take some out and put it aside (in the fridge) before you put the shrimp in the remaining marinade. You don't want to have shrimped marinade going on your food w/o thorough cooking. It's not as bad as doing that with chicken--which you'd never do, right?--but it's still not the wisest course of action. Be safe, and plan for food safety.

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