Monday, February 02, 2009

Cooking disaster: fresh lo mein noodles

It's a long story, a long and incoherent story. You really don't need to know all of it. Suffice it to say, last night I tried cooking a dish with fresh lo mein noodles. The dish, coincidentally enough, was pork lo mein.

My main problem, probably, was that I've never cooked with fresh pasta before (though I love pasta and cook it often). Having obtained a likely-looking package of noodles labeled lo mein from the refrigerator case of the Asian supermarket, I proceeded to treat them as I would any package of dried noodles: toss into boiling water and move on with the rest of the dish.

What went into the boiling water was a chunk of relatively firm, brownish, thin noodles. What came out was something akin to an omelette gone horribly wrong; eggy, sticky, with threads of (I guess egg) that brought mozzarella cheese to mind. Not good. Very not good. Not in flavor, so much, but in consistency.

I tried to delude myself that if I had spritzed the noodles with cold water while they were sitting in the colander, all would be well. As I worked on the leftovers today at lunch, I became more skeptical about that. The pork was good (if still a little tough, but that's another post). The shiitake mushrooms and scallions were good (though maybe I'd been a little too enthusiastic on the amount of the scallions). But the gluey disaster that had been the noodles kept giving. Not inedible, just very sticky and not what one would expect from any stripe of pasta or noodles.

Clearly, working with fresh pasta (should I attempt to do it again) will be a work in progress.