Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chard with Soba Noodles and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

"Hmm," said Henry. "Yeah." He was chopping a ton of chard, I was making tahini sauce and telling him all about seasonal eating, about how it's healthy to eat heavier food in the winter, more fat and protein, and healthy to eat lighter in the spring and summer, more in-season fruits and vegetables. I was extremely interested in what I had to say. He was dead bored.

Oh well. It was a good reminder to ease up on the pedagogy during our cooking lessons, and take more cues from my son. When I have too much of an agenda, a planned spiel, things tend to fall a little flat.

On the bright side, our meal was a success - we started with three plates on the table, overflowing with noodles, chard, green onions, parsley, and a zingy sauce that sang of spring all on its own, without my yammering, and we ended with three empty plates and three happy livers (your liver loves lemon and bitter greens in the spring. There I go again...).

Chard with Soba Noodles and Lemon-Tahini Sauce
Serves 4

8-ounce package soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 huge bunches of chard, washed well and sliced thinly, stems and all
generous pinch of salt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1/2 cup tahini
5 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup warm water
2 scallions, sliced
big handful parsley leaves, chopped

Cook soba noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

To make sauce, combine tahini, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a small bowl. I like to use a fork to mash/whisk these ingredients together. Add water, a tablespoon at a time and whisk well. Tahini can vary in consistency - if sauce is very thick add another tablespoon or so of water.

Heat large wok (or any pot that can contain your mountain of chard) on high heat, add coconut oil and swirl to coat wok. Add chard, a few handfuls at a time, add a nice big pinch of salt and cook, stirring, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir-fry one additional minute. If chard releases a lot of water, pour it off or dump chard into a strainer to drain and return to wok. Reduce heat to medium, add almost all the tahini sauce (save a little to drizzle on top) and stir well for 1 minute.

Divide noodles between plates or bowls, top with chard, scallions, parsley, and the rest of the sauce.

Happy spring!!