seared scallops sesame udon

I love Asian flavors, but I don’t use them in my cooking as often as I’d like to. I wanted to do something a little different with the scallops I had lined up for dinner, so it seemed like a good opportunity to play with some of those underused containers and bottles of Asian condiments we have in the kitchen.

I had a couple of bundles of soba noodles in the pantry, so I decided to make a sort of warm soba noodle salad to go with the scallops. I set a pot of water to boil while I sliced a couple of carrots into matchsticks. I’m a big fan of watercress – it has a great peppery bite and it’s loaded with nutrients. We had a bunch in the crisper, so I cleaned and trimmed it and decided to add that to the noodles as well.

watercress

I whisked up a dressing of sorts, dissolving a couple of heaping teaspoons of white miso paste into the juice of one lime, a couple of hefty splashes each of rice wine vinegar, mirin and tamari, and a squirt of Sriracha. I added about a quarter cup of toasted sesame oil to that and whisked it all together. I brushed a little bit of the dressing onto our scallops (8 big ones, about half a pound), and reserved the rest for the noodles.

I added the carrot matchsticks to the boiling water with a couple of pinches of salt and let them begin to cook. The soba noodles went in next, and I allowed them to cook with the carrots just until the noodles were soft and pliable. I turned off the heat, drained the noodles and carrots, placed them back into the dry pot and added the reserved dressing and the watercress, gently tossing everything through.

The scallops were even simpler – I placed them into a hot saute pan for about two minutes on the first side, then flipped them and cooked them for an additional minute. The scallops and udon went onto plates and I garnished them with a little bit of fresh mint (my first thought was to garnish with black sesame seeds, but they were buried in the far recesses of the cupboard). I was really pleased with how this turned out – the dressing/marinade had a nice blend of sweet-sour-salty flavors which was delicious on both the scallops and the noodles. This will definitely be a great light meal to keep in mind for busy weeknight meals.

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