Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cooking: Udon

I've been getting a little more creative with my soupy noodles lately. I haven't reached the point of making my own mother broth but I do make my own stock which I use as the base of my noodles. The udon comes prepacked and just a quick boil in salted water does the trick. I like to rinse them off with cold water to get rid of some of the starch but that's personal. I don't believe ramen shops do that.

For this udon meal, I went all out with the topping. Below you can see the seared duck  breast, chopped scallions, sauteed spinach with garlic, shitake mushrooms, and sauteed bean sprouts with sesame oil. In the middle is a perfectly cooked soft boiled egg. How beautiful does that look?

The duck breast was very easy to cook. I don't know why it's taken me this long to actually try cooking duck. First, I scored the skin crosswise making sure not to cut into the meat. Then I placed it in a very hot cast iron pan skin side down. Careful, there may be smoke. Once the skin gets a nice crust, I lower the heat just a smidge so that the fat rendered out of the skin without burning it. About 7 minutes in, I flip it over and sear the other side for 3 minutes. Then into the oven at 350oF for about 5-10 minutes. As you can see, it's a beautiful pink/red medium rare. Leave the duck in the oven for longer if you prefer it more done.
And that soft boiled egg. When I mean soft boiled, I mean soft boiled. Look at that yolk, it just disintegrated when I bit into it. So smooth and creamy. I loved it. So how to make a soft boiled egg? I actually timed this to the second so make sure you are ready with all your tools/equipment in place. When I scooped the udon out of the boiling water, I used the residual liquid to boil my egg. The salted water was at a rolling boil and I place my egg in. Timer was set at 4 minutes. In the meantime, fill a bowl up with cold water and ice cubes. At exactly 4 minutes, scoop your egg out and place it in the ice water bowl. Let it cool completely down. Now the hard part, peeling the shell. Lightly tap the ends to find the bubble. There should be one side of the egg that is more hollow. Use that to slowly peel off the shell making sure not to split the whites at all. Practice makes perfect.
This bowl of udon was really pretty decadent. I felt like I was eating a $20 bowl of noodles but it really cost me much much less. The duck was obviously the most expensive part but I took one breast and served 2 people with it. I loved this and will continue making beautiful and delicious food. Working on fine tuning my craft.

9 comments:

  1. quite impressive! looks better than what you get at most of the ramen joints in NYC.

    rare duck and egg yolk, mmm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I don't have the broth down. Need to make that a pet project one day.

      Delete
    2. yea lots of trial and error with broth making. not to mention lots of fat skimming.

      the Momofuku cookbook has a recipe, not sure if you own it.

      Delete
  2. Wait, I'm confused. You say udon many times but then compare it to ramen-ya. I love udon in soup but don't see it on menus often (except at Japanese take out places and theirs is never particularly good)... so which did you make?

    Aside from that, your egg shot is downright pornographic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made udon but compare it to ramen shops b/c that's the closest restaurant dish that I'm familiar with.

      Delete
    2. I actually often desperately wish that udon would be served... I love udon way more than I like ramen. Thick, chewy noodles... swoon.

      Delete
  3. That looks georgous!! I gotta tell you, I've read EVERY entry of your blog, Never even been to NY. Ha! I live in Arizona and I love and cook any Asian food. I have the greastest stores around me to get anything I need. I too have been trying to find my mojo broth for soups and ramen..finally I just want to say thanks for a great blog! Catherine McP..(one day will get to NY to eat at all those fabulous places you go to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Catherine: Thank you!!

      Also, if you can't get to NYC then try SF. They have a plethora of Asian food there too.

      Delete
  4. The duck breast and egg yolk look delicious.
    Not a big Udon person but would totally devour with those ingredients surrounding it.

    Is there duck breast ramen out there??

    ReplyDelete