This gingery sauce softens stance on scallions

The love-hate relationship with scallions previously revealed in this blog is something of a mischaracterization.

Absolute animosity toward scallions better describes my attitude, at least for most of my life. Cultivating green onions in my own garden finally nudged that rigid stance toward grudging acceptance, followed by appreciation for a plant that grows quickly in almost any climate conditions and adds color and freshness to the plate.

Yet I still viewed scallions as a garnish, rather than ingredient. Maybe that’s why I mulled over a recipe for noodles with “ginger-scallion sauce” for weeks before finally trying it. Cravings, certainly not for scallions, but for ramen cooked from fresh noodles and a heady dose of fresh ginger finally summoned me into the garden, then into the kitchen.

Because I was making such a small portion, and only dedicated two slim scallions to the meal, I adjusted ratios in the following recipe. To about ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, I added nearly that much peeled and grated, fresh ginger. About a tablespoon of rice-bran oil, a teaspoon of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon each of rice vinegar and sherry (I didn’t have sherry vinegar) should have finished the sauce. But because the ginger was so prominent, a bit of sweetness was in order. About a teaspoon of honey did the trick.

I let the sauce steep for about 30 minutes, then boiled up my noodles and very thinly sliced about ½ cup green cabbage. The warm noodles soaked up the nicely emulsified sauce while the bit of cabbage added just the right crunch. Although I couldn’t resist adding a dab of chili-garlic paste to the plate, the sauce was like nothing I’d tried before, warranting some more tinkering and a place in my repertoire.

Count it a score for scallions.

Ginger-scallion sauce:Toss together 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (white and green from 2 bunches), 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger, 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Let rest 15 minutes. Toss again. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Keeps nicely in the fridge, ready for noodle duty.

Tribune News Service photo

Ginger-Scallion Noodles

6 ounces ramen noodles (or lo mein, rice noodles or Shanghai thick noodles)

6 tablespoons ginger scallion sauce (see recipe above)

1/4 cup of any/all/none of the following: sliced bamboo shoots, quick-pickled cucumbers, roasted cauliflower or any other vegetables you have on hand

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the noodles. Cook until tender. Drain.

Heap drained noodles in a bowl. Spoon on the ginger scallion sauce. Add a heap or two of vegetables, if you like.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Adapted by the Chicago Tribune from “Momofuku” by David Chang and Peter Meehan.

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