Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Things that Weren't Supposed to be Good, but Were.

There really is no point in me trying to make ramen - it's just not going to happen. It would be like trying to make sushi. I could eat raw fish slices with vinegared rice, but it requires many years of training to make sushi. Ramen too. So instead, I used ramen as the inspiration for noodle soup.

Who puts asparagus in ramen? Perhaps I am the first human ever to do so. Tofu, that's reasonable. Egg - necessary. Fried shallots? They certainly were delicious, but it is their distant cousin the scallion that appears in ramen. Daikon radish is also not a typical ramen topping, but these are the things I had in the house, and I like these things. Why shouldn't I put them on my "ramen?"Notice how I've completely glossed over the fact that I made my "ramen" with...soba noodles? Heresy.

The one genius stroke here, if I may say so, was the last minute inspiration to use miso as a base for the soup. I was going to mix my home made chicken stock with a bit of good soy sauce, maybe a little vinegar and garlic. But instead I ladled some of the warm stock into a bowl of country miso paste (the coarse brown kind), whisked until smooth, and pushed through a strainer into soup bowls. Then the soup stock, then noodles, then the toppings.

My kids devoured their smaller portions of this (except the shallots - they didn't go over well), and as completely wrong as this "ramen" was, it was delicious.

And because thus far I had so strictly adhered to tradition, we drank Chablis with this meal. On paper it's all wrong, I guess, but it seemed like it might work. And to be honest, I really wanted to try one of the bottles that I recently received in a sample pack, what is surely the most thoughtful sample pack I've ever received.

I don't receive a load of samples, which is a good thing because it's so rare that some one wants to send me something that might fit in with the things I write about here. This one was a total surprise. I wrote something not long ago complaining about money I spent on William Fèvre Chablis. The folks at Henriot (Fèvre's US importer) must have read the post and felt that my experience was atypical, and so they sent me a mini-boatload of Fèvre Chablis, a great map, lots of information about the wines, and a nice book of recipes that are meant to enjoy with Chablis wines (ramen is not one of them).

2006 William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Montmains, $30-35, Imported by Henriot, Inc. This is a wine from the négoce arm of the Fèvre operation (the estate grown wines are called Domaine William Fèvre). 2006 wasn't supposed to be such a great vintage in Chablis, from what I've heard. And I am already of the mind that I'm not a big Fèvre fan, and this isn't even one of the estate grown wines. But you know what - it was very good. A bit backwards upon opening, but with a bit of air it's quite lovely with definite high notes of seashells and iodine on the nose. Lemony, stony chardonnay fruit on the palate, a lot of sappy raw material still, but good intensity without being clunky. This wine is not as vibrant as some, but the shells continue on the finish and this couldn't be anything but Chablis. And it somehow worked perfectly with our savory miso inflected "ramen" with soba noodles, asparagus, and fried shallots.

How would this wine hold up next to de Moor's or Picq's wines? That's something I'll have to look into soon.


Alex Halberstadt said...

A "mini-boatload" of Fevre Chablis? The things a blogger must put up with...sounds like a pretty fun predicament. In my experience they really need time to show well. An '04 Bougros I tried recently was still shut tight, though decanting definitely helped.

Steve L. said...

You might want to enjoy those wines sooner rather than later. My 2002 premier and grand cru Fevre wines--all of which were tasted on release and seemed excellent--have turned out to be pretty big disappointments.

(Those 2002s were so nice upon release that if I'm not mistaken Kermit Lynch imported some of them under an obscure label called 'Ancien Domaine Auffray,' which has never been seen again.)

Asher said...

Nice to receive multiple Fevre samples. As you know, some people consider Fevre to be on par with Raveneau and Dauvissat. I'm not sure that I would agree, but I see the need for additional experimentation to test the theory.

mr. pineapple man said...

miso ramen~! the noodles for hakata ramen is really thin..almost like soba noodles, so i think you're ok :)