Eatin' Fresh and (Mostly) Raw
I left work early yesterday for a doctor's appointment, which left little time for lunch. On the way there, I snacked on some almonds and raisins to tide me over. By the time I finally got done with the tests and consultation my stomach was making unholy groans that sounded like ghosts were plaguing my GI tract. Since there were a few things I wanted to pick up anyhow, I headed to Whole Foods and stopped by the deli first to get a sandwich. For what it's worth, I got the "tuna niçoise" sandwich, which wasn't all that niçoise (it tasted alright, though). Despite warnings of the possibility of olive pits listed on the wrapper, I couldn't find a single piece of olive anywhere close to it except in another area of the deli case. The sandwich was much larger than the amount of food I've become used to eating in one sitting, so I roamed the aisles stuffed to the gills with tuna, bread, green beans, and hardboiled eggs.
I knew that the sandwich would keep me full for hours, so I planned on having a light dinner. I was making my way through the produce ideas when the ideas really started flowing. As I piled the basket full of goodies and a few other things I needed, I came up with the following.
Soba with watermelon radish and blackberry-mint-pepita sauce
Someone could claim I came up with this as some sort of Valentine's Day scheme to have a post contain red food, but I swear, I didn't. The combination of blackberry/mint combination just seemed delicious.
Mise en place
- A large saucepan
- A colander
- A citrus juicer
- A food processor with chopping blade
- A rubber spatula
- A chef's knife and cutting board or mandoline
- A vegetable peeler
- A grater (optional)
Ingredients (for 4 servings)
- 5 ounces uncooked soba
- 2-3 small pieces of dulse or other large-leafed seaweed
- 2 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 3/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 Meyer lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon of agave nectar or honey
- 2 watermelon radishes
Fill the saucepan 3/4 full of water and add the dulse. Bring the water to a boil. When boiling, remove as much as the dulse as you can and add the soba. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain the soba and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Wash and dry the mint and blackberries and place in the food processor with the oil and salt. Pulse the mixture a few times until the berries begin to break apart. Juice the lemon and add the juice, a 1/2 cup of pepitas, and the sweetener. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor occasionally to ensure everything is blended. If assembling the sauce in advance, keep mixture in the refrigerator, but allow to reach just below room temperature before plating.
Wash and peel the radish and slice it into very thin rounds. To plate, add a portion of soba to the plate, topping and surrounding it with the radish slices. Add a generous portion of the sauce on top. Garnish with pepitas, mint leaves, and grated lemon peel if desired.
The combination of flavors and textures in this dish are phenomenal. You have the smooth, slighly nutty texture of the the soba combined with the crispness and tang of the radish and the sweetness and graininess of the sauce. Even though I made this in the dead of winter, this seems like it'd be a nearly perfect summer dish served with a dry Riesling.