Hands up anyone out there whose eating habits go like this:
1.. Try something new.
2. Think ‘well hey now, that is freakin’ delicious!’
3. Make it again.
4. And again.
5. Confess to yourself that fully fledged addiction has set in.
6. Realise that you’ve got to the point where you’ve had it six times in three days, there are crumbs of it on your clothes, your sofa and every surface of your kitchen and you actually can no longer bear to even think about it let alone spoon it into your mouth yet again…FYI kids, I’m still at stage ‘6’ of this process with Lorraine Pascale’s Glam Macaroni Cheese; made for four and eaten by two? You do the uncomfortable, cheese-sweats math.
Anyway, you’re not here to read about my inability to stop eating something when it’s delicious because frankly, that no longer comes as a surprise to you. You’re here to learn about this scallop-y, sesame-y, noodle-y dish that I’m currently at stage 4 with and that’s going to make everything better because that, my friends, is the wondrous power of food.
Not long ago I was lucky enough to attend an evening with Reiko Hashimoto at Divertimenti, a lovely little cooking school in South Kensington. I learned how to make several different canapes of the east and in doing so, I discovered so much more about the flavours, ingredients & spirit of Japanese cooking. Needless to say, it was exceptionally delicious and I adored it and my boyfriend was un-surprised to find me in the Japan Centre three days later scooping up armfuls of sauces and powders and oils and squeaking with excitement at each one. He is now both coolly unfazed by my constant infatuation with everything new that I eat and always supportive of trying things at least once; case in point, as I type this, he is sat on the sofa reading, book in one hand, kale smoothie in the other – bought a Nutribullet yesterday and now #iaminlove but more about that in future articles…
…right sorry! The noodles, back to the noodles! One of the dishes we made with Reiko was a beautiful prawn salad with a sesame noodle dressing and when I found myself with some gorgeous scallops recently, that dressing was the first thing that came to mind. I paired it with fine fresh egg noodles, the remnants of my vegetable drawer, those plump, sweet scallops and the toasty flavours of sesame oil which I love cooking with as I just think the flavours are subtle but have far more body than everyone’s current favourite, Senor Olive.
Not only is this dish simple, it’s also quick & healthy and you can totally interchange the ingredients depending on your tastes, budget & current fridge contents…don’t like seafood? Throw in some sliced chicken or cubes of tofu. No egg noodles to hand? Udon, soba or rice noodles would also work an absolute treat.
Plus, I promise you it’s absolutely, bowl-lickingly delicious and if I found you planning future weeks’ dinners based solely around what this dressing could go with, well let’s just say I’d shake your hand, slap your back, kiss your cheeks and invite myself round.
Scallops & Sesame Noodles
INGREDIENTS (for 2)
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. sushi vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 4 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted & ground
- Enough sesame oil for two generous glugs
- 200g raw scallops
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1/4 cucumber
- 400g fresh fine egg noodles
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds for garnishing
- Toast your sesame seeds in a small pan over a low heat, keeping an eye on them to avoid burning.
- Once toasted, grind to a fine powder in either a pestle & mortar (which will work but take some time and muscle power) or a small food processor/spice grinder.
- Combine your soy sauce, sushi vinegar, sesame oil and the ground sesame seeds in a bowl and mix well until you have a smooth texture; do not worry if it’s not as smooth as you’d like – mine wasn’t and it still tasted great.
- Slice your onion and pepper into half moons and long stems.
- Slice your cucumber in half length-ways then scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon and slice into half moons before putting to one side.
- Warm a wok or large pan, add a generous glug of sesame oil and start to saute your onion & pepper on a medium heat; you want them to be soft & golden.
- Once they’re at that stage, in a separate pan, heat another glug of sesame oil and carefully add your scallops; depending on size, they’ll only take 2-3 minutes each side so when the first side is starting to look beautifully burnished, flip them over.
- At this stage, add your egg noodles to the onion & pepper and, with a pair of tongs, toss everything together, lifting and turning the piles of noodles; they’re already cooked so you’re simply making sure everything is well combined & hot.
- Turn the heat down to low and add your dressing to the noodle mix, making sure to get every last drop from the bowl; keep tossing, turning & combining until all your ingredients are coated then divide into two bowls.
- Place your scallops on top of your noodles then add the cucumber half moons and sprinkle the garnishing sesame seeds on top before serving immediately.