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Zucchini Noodle Bowl

Zucchini Noodle Bowl - This is a simple and light bowl for a cool spring lunch or dinner, to be made when the farmers’ market finally begins to generate some excitement, with thin asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, little carrots, and crisp baby turnips. This meal features a court bouillon–style broth, poached baby vegetables, soft-cooked eggs, and zucchini “noodles,” a popular variation on flour-based noodles. The recipe benefits from planning ahead—the broth and eggs, for example, can be prepared in advance. And since the broth is relatively light and the vegetables are so simply prepared, the rich flavor and added body of a soft egg is a necessary component here. You can substitute the zucchini with udon, soba, somen, or another long, smooth noodle.

SERVES 4
Zucchini Noodle Bowl Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ large or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 6 sprigs plus 1½ teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 5 bushy sprigs plus ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs plus ½ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 3 medium firm zucchini or yellow squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1½ to 2 pounds mixed baby spring vegetables, such as young carrots, snap peas, thin asparagus, baby turnips, or fiddlehead ferns, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 large boiled eggs, molten yolk, or poached eggs

How to make Zucchini Noodle Bowl

  1. Heat the oil in a pot or medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, diced carrot, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, red pepper, and fennel seeds. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically, just until the vegetables begin to soften. Pour in the wine and water. Bring to a simmer, add 1 teaspoon of the salt, then cook for 8 minutes. Add the sprigs of parsley, thyme, and tarragon and cook for 2 minutes more. Strain through a sieve or fine-mesh colander, discard the solids, and set the broth aside. The herb broth can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator, or frozen for 1 to 2 months.
  2. Trim the ends off the zucchini, then, using a mandoline, julienne into long noodles about the size of linguini—between ¼ and ⅛ inch in thickness. The noodles can also be cut by hand: Slice the zucchini into long, thin slabs, then stack the slabs on top of each other and carefully cut into noodles. (Using a vegetable peeler in this case makes noodles that are too thin to hold up in the broth.) Toss with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and let stand in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes. Gently squeeze to extract liquid.
  3. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a gentle boil. Add the spring vegetables in separate batches, and cook until just tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, then transfer each batch with a spider skimmer or slotted spoon to a plate. Carrots will take 3 to 5 minutes, thin asparagus 3 to 4 minutes, baby turnips 3 to 5 minutes, snap peas 1 to 2 minutes, and fiddleheads 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Bring the herb broth to a bare simmer. Taste, adding additional salt as necessary. Stir together the minced parsley, thyme, and tarragon in a small bowl.
  5. Using a strainer basket or sieve, dip the zucchini noodles into the vegetable cooking water or the broth to warm them, then divide among four bowls. Top with the baby vegetables. Split a soft-cooked egg over the vegetables in each bowl, cover each serving with about 1 cup broth, and garnish generously with the minced herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.