Zaru soba (chilled buckwheat noodles) dressed up with fresh seafood makes for a quick but elegant meal.
A challenge inherent to preparing meals onboard a boat or in a camper is that the stovetops tend to be small, and while this doesn’t necessitate limiting preparation to one or two pans, it steers a cook in that direction. Meals featuring something on a bed of noodles really shine, and one of our favorite types of noodles are soba – which is the Japanese word for buckwheat. Being thin, soba cooks quickly, and since zaru soba is served chilled, it’s no problem to rinse the noodles and set them aside while other food is prepared.
In the past, I’ve made this dish with salmon, halibut and rockfish. On this more recent occasion, I had large Alaskan scallops and fresh Alaskan shrimp on hand. Instead of serving the dish on traditional bamboo (the origin of the word zaru), I opted for pasta bowls.
Zaru Soba with Alaskan Scallops and Shrimp
- soba for two people
- 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled
- 1/4 pound sea scallops
- 1/2 cup tsuyu (a dipping sauce available in the Asian section of most grocery stores). Divide into equal parts.
- 1 sheet of nori (dried seaweed), cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or sake
- olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp Thai seasoning
- 1 tbsp fresh tarragon chopped course or 1 tsp dried tarragon (optional)
- 1 green onions, sliced thin
- Place scallops and shrimp in a mixing bowl. Add Thai seasoning and tarragon and toss together. Set aside.
- Boil soba according to the directions on the package. I use much less water than most directions call for and the noodles come out fine, but do salt the water.
- When the noodles are finished, pour them into a colander to drain and then rinse with cold water.
- Place noodles in pasta bowls. Add tsuyu to each bowl, tossing the noodles in the sauce.
- Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the seasoned scallops and shrimp. Add sherry or sake. Cook for about 1 minute, using a spatula to briskly stir and turn seafood.
- Place seafood on noodles. Top with sliced green onions and nori strips and serve. Alternatively, the cooked seafood can be chilled prior to adding to the noodles.
This dish and its variations has become a family favorite. It pairs beautifully with a Willamette Valley Pinot Gris or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.