Monday, December 21, 2009

Hot fusion: Marco Polo, eat your heart out

I love reading 101 Cookbooks. Not necessarily because I want to make most of her recipes. I am a shameless omnivore who likes boeuf bourguignon better than quinoa, and likes bread best when it's a paean to the miracles yeast can work on pure white flour. No, it's her food photography I adore and aspire to. The lighting, the backgrounds, the skill... She can make even the crunchiest of flax and millet breads look delicious.

However, every so often she posts something that I just have to try. I stumbled across her recipe for Harissa Spaghettini, and it looked glorious. A blend of mediterranean flavors in a quick thrown together recipe, just in time for lunch. I'm a sucker for olives and lemon, what can I say.

But I had no harissa. I could order it from Amazon or Crate and Barrel. I could make my own from one of the myriad recipes around the internet and let it sit for a day so the flavors could blend. But I was hungry NOW. And I had no whole wheat spaghettini, which looked so lovely and hearty. I did, however, have soba. And red thai curry paste. So I embarked on a culinary journey worthy of Marco Polo, winding up with an Italian-Japanese-Thai fusion that looks great, and tastes better.

The journey:

I started with 1/2 T crushed garlic, 1 T tomato paste, 2 T thai red curry paste, 1 T olive oil, and a dash of salt. I blended it all together with 1-2 T water, to form a thick sauce. Taste for both salt and heat. I don't recommend this dish for the faint of heart, but at this stage, you can still cut it with more olive oil and garlic.

The resulting paste looks diabolical, but is delicious.

I toasted pine nuts, julienned some smoked sun-dried tomatoes, zested a lemon with a microplane, and threw in some spinach and kalamata olives.

One bundle of soba noodles, cooked...

Everything all together, prior to mixing. Next time I'll use the All-Clad pots instead, they photograph better.

Toss everything together until the sauce coats everything, and the spinach is wilted, and sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Behold!

And it was delicious.