It was an unassuming recipe and I didn’t have huge expectations because of its simplicity.
But when I served it and we dug in, I kept saying to my husband, “This is really good, isn’t it? Why is this so good?”
It was so good, it made me feel good.
Ever eat something like that, where you get a little rush of endorphins afterwards? Maybe it was the capsaicin in the nuoc cham dipping sauce, maybe it was the intensity of the fresh grown herbs and greens, maybe it was my imagination, but I was dazzled.
This was the perfect meal for the day after Thanksgiving, when, unbelievably, we were hungry despite having had two Thanksgiving meals the day before. Yup.
It was the anti-Thanksgiving meal, and it was perfect.
It’s greens, herbs, and soba noodles wrapped in spring roll rounds served with a spicy dipping sauce. That’s it. But the effect of the individual elements, when combined, is greater than the sum of its parts.
Fresh greens and herbs from the garden: tatsoi, arugula, mustards, sorrel, chives, parsley and, light of my life, pea greens. They taste like the freshest raw baby green peas,
This was my first experience softening spring roll wrappers. The wrappers go in the boiling hot water for a moment, then you lay them on the counter. I thought I had reached the fail portion of the spring roll experience because they wanted to cling, but those puppies are tough to mess up. You can rassle with them and they don’t tear (much).
Put on the soba noodles, greens and herbs. That’s my bright yellow counter.
They really are that yellow.
Aside: Did you know, if you have outdated, shockingly-hued kitchen counters, that you don’t have to replace them? It’s true. I checked.
Make the sauce:
Perfect combo of tang (lime), heat (chili paste), garlic (garlic), asian zing and saltiness (fish sauce), and just enough maple to balance the lime juice. I really think this sauce is where the magic happened.
But it could be the greens and herbs.
And of course it was both.
P.S. Here’s the book. We’re giving away two copies Dec. 7, but first I’m going to find another sleeper of a recipe to cook very soon.