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Soba with Asparagus, Miso Butter and Egg
To cook asparagus evenly, we cut the spears in two—stalks and tips—and simply toss the stalks into the noodle cooking water first, and a minute later add the tips. Stalks that measured about ½ inch at the thickest end were best. To flavor our asparagus and noodles, we liked savory-sweet miso, but we needed a fat to draw out the flavors. We turned to Momofuku’s David Chang, who famously blends miso and butter. We liked that combination, particularly when balanced with grated fresh ginger. For the noodles, we preferred those made from a blend of whole-wheat and buckwheat flours; 100 percent buckwheat noodles were fragile and expensive. A sunny-side up egg proved the perfect topper. Most soba noodles cook in 4 minutes. For noodles that need longer, adjust the timing for adding the asparagus. Assembling and preparing all the ingredients before cooking the noodles was essential for proper timing. While the soba cooks, heat the skillet, then fry the eggs while tossing the noodles with the miso butter. To finish, we liked a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, the Asian rice seasoning.
pound medium asparagus, tough ends trimmed
tablespoons white miso