Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Soba Noodles with Braised White Fish, Leeks, Mushrooms, and Clams

This is a lovely decadent meal that comes together quickly.  Scrubbing the clams can be a pain, so ask your fish monger to do it for you.  Scallops make a great substitute if clams aren't in season.  Be sure not to overcook the fish, the texture is best when the it's just barely cooked through.  Serve with fresh bread to sop up the scrumptious broth.

Soba Noodles with Braised White Fish, Leeks, Mushrooms, and Clams
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Serves 4 

2 tablespoons light butter (such as Smart Balance)
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)  
3 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)  
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 white fish fillets, about 4 ounces each (mahi-mahi or halibut work well) 
16 to 24 small clams, such as Manila or littlenecks, scrubbed (use scallops if you can't find clams)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch buckwheat soba noodles, cooked

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in an 11- or 12-inch straight-sided saute pan with a lid. Add the mushrooms and leeks and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the broth, raise the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.

2. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Nestle the fish and clams among the vegetables in the skillet. Stir in the wine and bring the broth back to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low. Cook gently until the fish is just cooked through and the clams have opened, about 7 minutes. If all of the clams are not open, remove the fish and the open clams and continue cooking until the remaining clams open, another 2 to 3 minutes. Discard any clams that haven't opened by this time.

3. Add the cooked soba noodles to the pan, stirring until thoroughly warmed.
4. Serve the fish in shallow soup bowls, topped with leeks and mushrooms, surrounded by noodles, clams and broth, and sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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