Peanut Sesame Soba with Bacon, Egg and Tiny Greens

February 24, 2015


Author Notes: My favorite dipping sauce for baked tofu, made with peanut butter, sesame and soy sauce, works magic on noodles, too. I add three other ingredients that I nearly always have on hand -- bacon, eggs and greens – to make a quick lunch or dinner. I hope you like this! ;o)AntoniaJames

Serves: 2, but can be halved, doubled, quadrupled, etc.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles) or fairly thin Chinese wheat noodles
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices / 3 ounces bacon
  • 4 scallions (white and light green portion)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, plus more for seasoning, if necessary
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar or lime juice (or more, to taste)
  • 2 ounces / 2 cups, tightly packed, tiny tender greens (kale, spinach, chard, whatever) or arugula ** See note below for using more mature leaves.
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, or more to taste
  • Chili oil, to taste (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of cilantro leaves for garnish

Directions

  1. Please note: These instructions provide a linear route to getting this on the table, stating from the assumption that you don't have any of the ingredients already prepped (or cooked). I've added below a much shorter description of how to put this together.
  2. Get your water boiling for the noodles and the soft-cooked eggs. For the noodles: Put on to boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot (at least 4 quart capacity), covered. For the eggs: Fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full; put on to boil, covered.
  3. In a large skillet, toast the sesame seeds until they just start to turn brown. Remove immediately to a small bowl.
  4. Cook the bacon in the skillet. While it’s cooking, slice the scallions into ¼” pieces and thinly slice the garlic lengthwise.
  5. When the water in the small pot starts to boil, gently slip in the eggs. Once it's returned to a simmer, put timer on for 7 minutes.
  6. When the bacon is done, remove it; pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat.
  7. When the water in the large pot starts to boil, thoroughly rinse the soba under cold water and drop them into the pot of water. Set your timer for one minute less than the package instructions. (Mine usually take 6-7 minutes, total.) Stir the noodles gently to separate all the strands. ** If you're using larger greens, cut them into long strips and set your timer for 2 minutes before the noodles will be done. Throw them in with the noodles so they'll cook a bit before they're tossed in the skillet.
  8. While the noodles are cooking, gently saute the scallions and garlic in the skillet over medium heat. Turn the heat off. Push the aromatics to one side and add the brown sugar; give it a good stir; add the soy sauce and fish sauce and stir to blend. Turn the heat back on to low. Stir in the peanut butter and vinegar. Cook gently for about 30 seconds. Taste and add more vinegar or soy sauce, if necessary. Turn the heat off, for now.
  9. When the timer goes off for the eggs, put them in a medium bowl of very cold water. Run a bit more cold water over them after 15 seconds or so, and then let the eggs sit in the cool water.
  10. Chop the cooked bacon into ½” pieces. Peel the eggs. (I do it under water, in the same bowl I used for cooling them.)
  11. When the timer for the noodles goes off, remove about ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Put it in the skillet, give it a good stir, add the greens to the skillet if using tiny greens, and turn the heat on to medium-low.
  12. Drain the noodles. Put them immediately into the skillet and turn the heat up to medium. Drizzle the noodles with the sesame oil and chili oil, if using, sprinkle on freshly ground black pepper, and toss. Put a lid on the skillet and turn off the heat. (This allows the sauce to soak into the noodles, as you would do with any other pasta sauce.)
  13. Quarter the eggs. Divide the noodles between two plates; sprinkle on the sesame seeds, garnish with the bacon, egg quarters and cilantro leaves.
  14. I hope you like this. Sincerely, AntoniaJames ;o)
  15. To summarize: Make noodles. (If your greens aren't tiny tender ones, throw them in with the noodles a minute or two before draining.) Cook up bacon while you boil the eggs. Make the sauce in the skillet, add the noodles and greens, toss well and let sit for minute, and then garnish with the eggs, bacon, sesame seeds and cilantro.
  16. If you have already-cooked eggs and bacon (and if not, why not?) simply make the noodles, use some reserved bacon fat for the sauce - or any vegetable oil if you prefer -- and you'll have this on the table, with practically no effort, in the time it takes to cook the noodles and toss with the sauce.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Egg|Bacon|Cilantro|Green Onion/Scallion|Peanut|Peanut Butter|Sesame Oil|Soy Sauce|Vinegar|Halloween|Hanukkah

Reviews (5) Questions (0)

5 Reviews

coffeefoodwrite April 10, 2016
Yum! This looks delicious....<br />
 
emcsull February 25, 2015
Antonia,<br />you have mentioned baked tofu before, I am curious. You said you baked it while baking bread. How long do you bake it ? Do you slice or dice it, or just do a chunk ? How long can it be kept after baking ?<br />Thanks Ellen
 
Author Comment
AntoniaJames February 25, 2015
Ellen, it couldn't be easier. I cut firm tofu into long rectangles, lightly pat them with a clean tea towel (not pressing with weights, as I used to), then put the rectangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. I blot up any liquid, if I'm not otherwise distracted, but just what's easy to reach. If I want smaller pieces, I lightly cut the rectangles while on the sheet and pull them apart. I bake in a hot oven usually, 15-25 minutes, at or around 400 - 425 Fahrenheit; longer if I've got something in at a lower temperature. I typically check after 15 minutes and flip the pieces over if I have time. The process is so forgiving! If I want the pieces to have a crustier exterior, I simply leave them in longer. So much easier, so much less messy than frying. I find marinated and baked tofu to be somewhat sodden, so I just make sure my sauce for the bare, dry baked tofu is full of flavor and plentiful. <br />I live on this stuff. (In fact, I'm having some for lunch, with the quick peanut sauce in this recipe + skillet-braised napa cabbage I made the other day - another mindlessly simple, quick-as-all-get-out staple in my fridge.) ;o) P.S. It keeps for at least 3 -4 days, maybe five. I usually go through it pretty quickly.
 
emcsull February 25, 2015
this could change my life, thanks so much. I am forever while cooking pulling tofu out of the fridge and realizing I don't have time to press it any more !
 
Author Comment
AntoniaJames February 25, 2015
I hope you find it helpful! I started using a lot more tofu when I discovered this. I have my oven on several times a week, and I'm always looking for ways to use it for multiple purposes when it's on, e.g., butternut squash, lavash crackers (recipe posted here), dry roasted slices of eggplant, roasted vegetables of all kinds to use in lunches and as components for dinner etc. I'd seen a lot of recipes for marinated tofu that's then baked. I tried a few but found that the dirty baking dish wasn't worth it. This was one of those "I wonder what would happen if . . . " discoveries. Baking tofu bare involves almost no work. It also stays nice and moist - you get a light crust on the outside while it stays creamy inside. I wipe down the parchment (it just gets a little damp where the blocks were sitting), let it dry out completely and re-use it three or four times for baking tofu, to reduce my environmental impact. The little blocks of baked tofu are marvelous in stir fries. I also use them in this soup: https://food52.com/recipes/20710-country-style-vegetable-soup-with-fermented-black-beans-and-tofu (The photo shows tofu that was fried on the stove. The baked doesn't usually get that brown.) ;o)