I always associate big bowls of steaming hot udon soup as a meal meant to be eaten alone. Japanese noodle bars always have long counter spaces which make them perfect for solo dining and the service is very perfunctory yet careful without the chit-chat. Oh, and did I forget to mention the slurping? Really, it’s hard to eat those long chewy noodles without a slurp or two. It’s an exercise in grace getting the noodles from your chopsticks to your mouth without so much as a drop of broth on the page of the book you’ve just borrowed from the library. And I guess it’s because the library is right across from the noodle bar I like the best, that I find such pleasure in my solitary bowl of udon. For me, udon and books go hand in hand. Sure, I’ve gone for noodles with friends and often times, Cornelius and I have taken bowls of take out soup to eat at home, but somehow it’s not the same. Sitting at the counter (a window seat is always best!) on a cold day with a big bowl of Charsiu Ramen with Shoyu broth is restorative. Maybe it’s just about spending some quiet time in my own head, reading a good book, people watching and not so much minding the grayness outside that makes the whole experience seem so special. Who knew sitting at a counter eating noodles could do so much for a girl?
I came up with the recipe below on Monday after enjoying a lovely solo bowl of udon on Saturday with only my ipod, Run DMC, and the local entertainment rag for company. This recipe turned out amazingly well and if I could eat it every week, I’d be one very happy person. If you have corn or bean sprouts or spinach on hand, add it in! Don’t like salmon? Top with tofu, shrimp or chicken. Don’t sweat it.
udon soup with grilled salmon
1 t maple syrup
1 T soy sauce
juice from 1/2 lime
a few dashes of hot sauce
a few dashes of sesame oil
1 salmon steak
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 knuckle sized piece of ginger, grated
2 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal
1 green pepper, large dice
1 c broccoli florets
4 c vegetable broth
3 scallions, large chop
2 individual packets of miso (about 2 large tablespoons worth)
2 individual packets of udon noodles
juice from 1/2 lime with zest
1. In a shallow bowl combine the first 5 ingredients and mix well. Add the salmon steak to the bowl and brush the sauce mixture over the salmon. Let sit for 30 minutes. Grill the salmon in a dry cast iron skillet until done, about 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Set aside.
2. Into a large pot, add a few dashes of sesame oil and add in the garlic, ginger, celery, green pepper and broccoli. Stir about until all the vegetables are slightly glistening and then add in the broth. Bring to a boil and add in the udon noodles, miso and scallions. Turn down the heat, stir to break apart miso and let the noodles cook for about 3 minutes or so. Turn off heat and squeeze in the lime juice and add the zest.
3. With tongs, add in the noodles and vegetables to 2 very large soup bowls. Pour in broth, but don’t fill the bowl….keep the broth under the noodles as we want to create a noodle-y cushion for the salmon. Divide the salmon into 2 pieces and place on top of noodles, 1 hunk of salmon for each bowl. Now slurp away to your hearts content!
I loved that udon place when I lived in Vancouver, I had forgotten all about it! Perhaps I will have to try your udon recipe in tribute. Do you think it would still work without the salmon?
Very well said…I actually felt as if I was in the Japanese udon place in Vancouver…udon soup is great. Did I say ‘great’ and ‘soup’ in the same sentence?
I enjoy soups that I can not only slurp but chew and search for great hidden treasures inside…like jumbo shrimp, mussels, chunks of oyster mushrooms; so it’s kind of like a meal too. I guess Cornelius and I share in our soup idiosyncrasies 🙂
On a side note, I made your scones earlier today and had it with some Earth Balance margarine. So good!
I flavoured them with vanilla and mandarin rind. And I also used whole wheat flour and rice milk and vegan margarine instead of butter in the recipe.
They turned out surprisingly well! So this recipe is in fact, fool-proof 😀 yippee…
Your blog is awesome – your recipes, pictures and stories are inspiring. Thank you!
Ohhh, that looks so good. I made something similar last night: teriyaki grilled salmon with rice noodles and mangeout. Yours looks more sophisticated, tough.
laural, i love that udon place! i hadn’t been there in a while, and when i was there on the weekend, all kinds of goodness came flooding back.
thanks joanne! i’m glad the scones worked out for you too. hooray for foolproof recipes!
thanks russ…you’re making me blush!
honeybee, i like the sound of your meal too! really how can any meal with salmon go wrong?
rich, it totally was delish! yum.
Ok, so that’s two recipes in a row that resonate with me (way down to the core).
This one is getting the fast track in the kitchen!
looks delish! thanks for sharing.
I am so totally making this tonight. Minus the salmon, this time (I am still intimidated by fish).
love that. I wish someone would open that kind of noodle bar in Madrid. I make bowls and bowls at home, but it just isn´t the same, I agree. Will try this, looks brilliant.
I made this for my husband last night and it was FANTASTIC. Thank you so much for making it!
Oh, I can’t remember the last time I was at Ezogiku! I think I know where I’m going for lunch on Monday…
scott, i’m glad i could get your kitchen juices flowing! let me know your results!
i hope it tastes great, maven! enjoy.
lobstersquad, japanese noodle bars are the best! vancouver is blessed that way but i’m sure spain is beyond compare!
thanks anon! glad it made a great dinner!
mmm, ezogiku is the best! enjoy your monday lunch!
hag, you work so close the ezogiku that i’m shocked that you haven’t been yet! get thee to some good udon now!
Love Udon noodle soups and thanks for the good review of ezogiku…I have been meaning to try it…goodie! a new place to eat lunch! Your udon looks fantastic…I love the idea of grilled salmon…very west coast!