If you follow along on my Instagram, you know that I spent much of last week eating my way through New York City with the team from KitchenAid and a crew of food and lifestyle bloggers. Each and every moment was worth writing home about—from our culinary tour of Greenwich Village to our behind-the-scenes peek at a bakery that serves raw cookie dough by the scoopful!—but without a doubt the highlight of the trip was a visit to the Food 52 test kitchens for a cooking demo from Chef Marcus Samuelsson. I was utterly starstruck by his warm and inviting personality, by his passion for his mission to bring healthy, delicious food to underserved communities worldwide, and of course by the delicious original recipe he prepared for us! He whipped up a spiralized sweet potato noodles dish in as much time as it takes me to chop veggies for salad, and the fresh flavors he created have me totally rethinking my menu plan for spring.
Watching Chef Marcus move with smooth confidence through the kitchen was like watching an Olympic athlete on the playing field; yet hearing him talk about the ease and versatility of this recipe reminded me that even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen, you can still enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and preparation methods! Don’t be overwhelmed by the multiple steps and components in this delicate broth-and-veggies meal. Each can be made well in advance, and each has multiple uses aside from in this soup! For example the tofu butter handily replaces your usual toast spread; the blanched, sauteed veggies could be tossed into an omelette rather than served with broth; and the garlic confit is brilliant for adding a layer of interest to any dish!
So take your time and savor the process of this recipe as much as you do the end result. If Chef Marcus taught me nothing else, it’s that the practice of cooking good food can be as much a statement of health as the meal itself. Take your time, pour a glass of wine, and pour your heart out into this nutritious and delicious celebration of spring!
Sweet Potato Noodles in Shiitake Dashi with Branzini, Asparagus & Bok Choy
Serves 4. Recipe courtesy of Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
For the Tofu-Garlic Butter
1 c olive oil
24 garlic cloves, peeled
1 lb silken tofu
For the Sweet Potato Noodles
2 sweet potates, peeled
4 c water
1 2/3 tablespoon salt
2 c ice
For the Shiitake Dashi
16 oz shittake caps (no stems)
8 c water
1 4×4″ piece dried kombu
1/2 c sake
1/2 c mirin
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
For the Blanched Vegetables
6 stalks asparagus, each one peeled and cut into 3 equal pieces
2 pieces baby bok choy, quartered
4 c water
1 2/3 tablespoons salt
2 c ice
For the Finished Dish
1/2 c olive oil
1 whole Branzini prepared into 2 filets, each cut into 4 pieces and deboned
5 scallions, sliced and divided (reserve half for garnish)
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
Cooked bok choy and asparagus, from above
20 oz sweet potato noodles, from above
4 shiitake mushrooms, julienned, from the dashi
1/2 c tofu-garlic butter, from above
4 c shiitake dashi, from above
10 sprigs cilantro, leaves only
1. Start by making the tofu-garlic “butter”: In a small pot, heat the oil and garlic slowly over low heat and cook until garlic is soft with no color. Once the garlic is soft, remove from heat and allow it to cool in the oil. Once cool, store the garlic confit and oil in a container and reserve for the tofu butter.
2. In a blender, add the silken tofu and 12 garlic cloves from the garlic confit. Emulsify on low speed, gradually adding 1/2 c of the garlic oil. Once the oil has been blended, season the “butter” with salt and reserve for the noodle dish.
3. To make the sweet potato noodles, use the KitchenAid Fine Spiralizer attachment to create noodle strands from the sweet potatoes. When the noodles are complete, add the water and salt to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Place the ice in a bowl and add cold water to create an ice bath for the noodles. Once the water has come to a boil, add the strands and blanch for 60 seconds. Remove the noodles from the pot and place them in the ice bath to cool down. Once the noodles are cool, remove from the water and reserve for the dish.
4. To make the shiitake dashi, combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a light simmer, and cook for 45 minutes. Strain the broth. Reserve the mushrooms. Julienne the mushrooms for use in the finished dish.
5. To blanch the vegetables, add water and salt to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Place the ice in a bowl and add cold water to create an ice bath. Once the water has come to a boil, add the vegetables and blanch for 30 seconds. Remove and place in the ice bath. Once cool, remove the vegetables and reserve for the finished dish.
6. To assemble the finished dish, divide the olive oil in two saute pans (one is for the fish, the other is for the noodles) and heat. Season the fish with salt on both sides and then place the filets in the saute pan, skin down. Working over medium heat, allow the fish skin to get crispy.
7. In the other saute pan, add the scallion, ginger, and garlic and cook lightly—you don’t want them to color. Then add the bok choy, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and lastly, the noodles. Combine the vegetables and the noodles together and finish with the tofu butter and season with salt.
8. Once the skin is crispy on the fish, flip to the flesh side to continue cooking over low heat.
9. Warm the broth over medium heat. Distribute noodles equally between the four bowls and pour the dashi over top. Remove your fish from the pan and place on the noodles. Garnish with leaves of cilantro and reserved scallions. Serve, sip, swoon with delight!