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Grilled Shiitakes with Mojo Oriental & Somen Noodles

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Serves four as a light dinner.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 28

Somen noodles are sold in Asian groceries and many supermarkets. Use capellini if you can’t find them.

  • 16 large shiitake caps, cut into quarters (or 32 smaller shiitake caps, cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 habanero chile, seeded
For the somen noodles:
  • 8 oz. dried somen noodles
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil 
  • Minced garlic chives or chives for garnish (optional)
  • Black and white sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Thread the shiitake caps on 8 short wooden skewers. Arrange the skewers in a shallow, nonreactive pan.

To make the mojo, toast the cumin and peppercorns in a dry saucepan over medium-high heat until they’re quite aromatic. Grind them in a spice or coffee grinder and return them to the pan. Add the stock, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and habanero. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. After 5 minutes, remove the habanero; continue to simmer the sauce until it’s reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the sauce through a fine sieve; let cool slightly. Pour the mojo over the shiitake skewers; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Light a grill or broiler. Remove the skewers from the mojo, letting any excess drip back into the pan. Transfer the mojo to a nonreactive saucepan and simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, grill or broil the shiitakes until well-browned, 3 to 6 minutes.

Boil the somen noodles until just al dente (about 1 min. after the water comes back to a boil), drain well, and toss with the sesame oil. Mound the noodles in four shallow bowls, top with the grilled shiitake skewers, and drizzle with the reduced mojo.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 520; Fat (g): fat g 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 77; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 2110; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Ben Fink

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