Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Samurai in Autumn

Pasta di Grano Saraceno con Pastinaca, Pancetta & Salvia
Buckwheat Noodles with Parsnip, Bacon & Sage


Eurasian? You're kiddin'!! Fusion? Or confusion? What kind of a dish IS this?! Well peoples... it is MY kind of dish- improvised, stylized- in case you haven't yet realized!

I looking in my fridge, thought of the the ingredients I had, the combinations of flavors I could create... and before I even knew it myself... this dish was on my plate! Wow- you are even getting poetry for your troubles tonight- haha!


I never thought I would be making this at the time, when I popped the parsnip into my basket of goodies at the market hall on Saturday. I was definitely planning on making a soup with it, which would have been a more typical thing for the Autumn season. And a favorite of mine at that.

And then THIS happened!

Thank goodness!


This was made in less than 10 minutes from less ingredients than you would think could possibly feed a grown man... but they not only did that- they also made him very, very happy at the same time!

One small parsnip, 1 Spring onion, 1 portion of buckwheat noodles (soba), 5-6 small sage leaves, 1 small handful of finely diced bacon and a little fresh parsley. And for a finishing touch, a little delicious Hoisin sauce to round off the seasoning and make it all extra delicious!


Not Asian, not European, not the typical kind of fusion dish either... I really don't know which category this should be listed under... other than delicious! The rich, earthy and nutty flavor of the parsnip is so intense that it brings the mild buckwheat noodles to life- the bacon and sage make it perfect for the season and the Hoisin adds a smooth and savory richness that brings it all together. What can I say? That is MY kinda food!


I halved the parsnip lengthways and then cut the halves into thin slices... well, the thicker ends in any case- the thinner ends made for a nice snack for the chef! The onion, finely chopped and the sage leaves left whole as they were so dainty and small... all done? Good! Then we are ready to get started!


First of all, I popped the buckwheat noodles into a saucepan of boiling water and turned off the heat. So much for them! They do cook very quickly and can over-cook very easily indeed. I have found that the best method for me to work with is to let them cook in the residual heat of a saucepan of boiling water after the heat has been turned off.

The bacon bits, parsnip slices, sage leaves and chopped onion all went into the frying pan, with no added fat, and fried together until the bacon became crunchy and the parsnip slices began to brown. I seasoned generously with freshly ground pepper and got ready to put my dish together!


I then passed the noodles over into the frying pan, with quite a bit of the water they had been boiling in (enough to cover the base of the pan and deglaze it) and let them continue boiling away on a high heat.

I added Thai fish sauce to season them, rather than using salt, and continued stirring for 2-3 minutes, until all the flavors had boiled together and into the noodles and ultimately, until all of the moisture in the pan had been absorbed and/or had evaporated away.


I served the noodles up, piping hot, with a generous sprinkle of finely chopped parsley and a drizzle of Hoisin sauce, plenty of freshly ground pepper... and let me tell you this! As simple as it is- the flavors are so strong, so intense and so good together, that you will soon realize that it is a good thing that it is left so simple! You would not need to add or take away anything at all to improve it!


Simple food- simply good!


Go grab your chopsticks and join me! You know you want to!


 Why make things complicated, when by keeping them simple, you can get down to eating more quickly? Haha! Only joking... but not really! There is some truth in there somewhere!


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