"Jay, why don’t you do a column about edamame?" asked Times Record reporter John Lovett as he munched on something that looked suspiciously like a Snickers bar.
It could have been an energy bar, but I was concentrating on why anyone would want a column on edamame.
You know what edamame is, don’t you?
Think immature green soybeans.
Another reporter had a bag of dry roasted edamame sitting on his desk.
Then the newsroom receptionist walked by and said, "I love edamame. I don’t like that stuff in a bag. It tastes like feet."
After that disturbing observation, she continued, "I buy the bags of frozen edamame, boil it and add a little salt. It’s delicious."
I was surrounded by edamame experts, and I knew little or nothing about it.
I’ve eaten edamame in salads, and in some Asian foods. But I’ve never purchased it or tried any recipe that called for it.
This was going to take research.
First of all, frozen, shelled edamame is becoming easier to find at the grocery store (yes, the beans actually come in a pod). Check the frozen food area of your favorite supermarket.
Unlike regular mature soybeans, which become dry and brown, beans inside edamame pods are unripe, still soft, green and edible. They require just a few minutes of cooking. Only the beans are to be eaten because the outer pod is too fibrous.
A half-cup serving of shelled edamame has 100 calories, 3 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. Edamame is rich in phytochemicals and plant sterols, associated with lowering cancer risk. The American Heart Association recommends substituting soy protein to replace other foods high in saturated fat (such as meat and cheese) for heart health.
Add edamame to salads, stir fries or soups.
Edamame is most often boiled, though you will preserve more of the beans’ vitamin C and B contents if you steam it to reduce contact with water.
To steam edamame, place a steamer basket or insert into a large pot or saucepan. Fill the pot with about an inch of water, making certain that the water does not touch the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place the frozen edamame in the steamer basket. Cover the pot with a lid. Allow the edamame to steam until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Place the edamame in a large bowl and toss with your choice of seasonings, if desired, such as salt, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, ginger or garlic.
This Three-Bean Salad is courtesy of epicurious.com.
1½ cups (8 ounces) frozen shelled edamame
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
½ cup chopped red onion
2 cups thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cook edamame in a 1½- to 2-quart saucepan of boiling salted water, uncovered, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking, then cook cumin, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Pour into a large heatproof bowl.
Add edamame and remaining ingredients to cumin oil and toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend.
1 package (12 ounces) frozen shelled edamame
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the edamame in a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain.
Spread the edamame beans on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
I discovered the following recipe on foodnetwork.com. Credit chef Anne Burrell. Reviewers give it five stars.
Soba Noodles With Edamame And Peanuts
8 to 9 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 medium carrots, julienned
¼ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and julienned
1 cup shelled edamame
3 scallions, white and green sliced on the bias
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in the soba and swish them around with a pair of tongs so they don’t stick together. Cook the noodles until they are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Strain through a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the sesame oil.
Coat a large straight-sided saute pan with peanut oil and toss in the garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Bring the pan to a medium heat and cook the garlic and ginger for 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in the carrots and ¼ cup water and cook until the water has evaporated. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the edamame and scallions.
Add the soy, rice wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons water. Toss in the cooked soba, stir to combine and cook until the noodles are hot and the water has evaporated.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the peanuts.
Again, crazy good reviews for this rice dish from myrecipes.com.
Honey Cashew Chicken And Rice
1 cup instant rice
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ cup dry-roasted cashews, unsalted
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Combine chicken and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss to coat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture and saute for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Increase heat to high. Add broccoli and the next 4 ingredients (through red bell pepper). Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat. Serve with rice.
Looking for a recipe? Have one you’d like to share? Write to Potluck, Times Record, P.O. Box 1359, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.