The hardest part of cooking in my opinion is getting everything prepped. Ever notice how TV chefs made cooking look so seamless? It’s because the prep work has been done already. There’s nothing worse than being mid-recipe and realizing you have to chop an onion. It throws everything off. The French call this method of preparation, mise en place (which means set in place). Not only does it make the whole process a little easier, it’s so pleasing to see all of your ingredients laid out neatly, just waiting to be used.
INGREDIENTS (slightly adapted from Food & Wine)
- 12 ounces soba noodles
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the soy sauce, tamari and agave syrup. Add the noodles and toss.
- In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until golden and crisp, 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the paper towels.
- Preheat a cast iron pan. In a bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir in the shrimp and season with salt. Cook the shrimp over high heat, turning once, until glazed and just white throughout, about 3 minutes.
- Add noodles to pan and arrange the shrimp on top. Sprinkle with the scallions, cilantro, crushed red pepper and the fried shallots and garlic. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce (I love Sambal Oelek).