Saturday, January 24, 2009


I've had a couple of cravings lately.

Years ago, there was a fabulous restaurant here in Lexington called Ed and Fred's Desert Moon. I used to sneak out the back door of Cafe Jennifer to get my fix of their Chile Lime Pesto Linguine. I'd devour it in the office, check my smile in the mirror for tell-tale cilantro, and then sneak back out front. That's one craving.

Soba noodles have also been on my mind lately. These hearty buckwheat noodles are a great option for those of us who aren't fond of whole wheat pasta (a taste I can't seem to acquire) and still want a healthier alternative to the white stuff.

I haven't been able to get my hands on the recipe Ed and Fred used (help would be welcome!), but I'm pretty sure they used regular linguine. However, I had soba in the pantry, cilantro in the fridge, a lime in the fruit bowl, and a little time on my hands. An experiment was in order.

I had a couple of little red peppers, some left-over pecans, and of course garlic. I gave it all a rough chop, and processed the heck out of it. I added salt and pepper, squeezed fresh lime juice, and drizzled in olive oil as it whirred around my machine.

Sorry -- I experienced a relapse here and fell back into the old habit of not measuring anything. Here are my estimates:

1 cup nuts (I had pecans, but walnuts would be delicious)
1 bunch cilantro, minus a bit for garnish
2 garlic cloves
Juice from 1 lime
Chiles -- I had these mild red peppers on hand, but I recommend using whatever you can take!
Salt, pepper, and olive oil (I used less oil than a traditional pesto because I wanted it kind of on the dry side.)

I had pulled some cod from the freezer earlier, so it was included in this experiment. I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and smeared some of the fragrant paste over it.

I originally set my oven to "broil", but soon realized that the nuts were browning much faster than the fish was cooking. I turned it back to "bake" and started the soba noodles.
I had fun making this up as I went. I didn't want to cook the pesto (surely that would soften that fresh bold punch), but I wanted the soba to pick up some kind of flavor in a saute pan.

So after boiling the noodles in salted water until just al dente, I tossed them with olive oil and sauteed scallions.

I tossed the warm soba noodles with the pesto, placed the fish on top, and we enjoyed a delicious and healthy meal.
I didn't quite capture the linguine from my memory, but that's okay. I'll just call this tasty adventure "Soba Experiment One." Now -- on to the variations!

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