April 4, 2012

Edamame: It's a clean, green, healthy machine

The fuzzy soy bean pods, a wonderful frozen-veggie alternative, are a perfect fit in salads and pastas.

By Rick Nelson / McClatchy Newspapers

Another week, another auto-pilot stroll through the frozen vegetables section of the supermarket. Green beans, yawn. Peas and carrots, no thank you. Broccoli? Insert eye roll.

VEGETABLES BEANS
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Edamame may be best known as a salty bar snack, but they stand in nicely for peas and fava beans in a variety of dishes.

McClatchy Newspapers

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Here's a suggestion: Edamame.

The gently fuzzed, whole-pod versions of young soybeans are widely known as steamed-and-salted bar snacks. But their pea-like seeds – which bear a slight resemblance to lima beans and manage to hold much of their buttery texture, delicately sweet flavor and Granny Smith apple color when frozen – make for a delicious and colorful addition to routine cooking.

Better still, leaving someone else to do the shelling makes them as convenient – and as versatile – as any other more familiar frozen vegetable, just slightly more exotic. And flexible they are, standing in for peas and fava beans in salads, succotashes, pastas and other dishes.

Another bonus: They're high in protein, fiber and B vitamins.

Then there's the name. Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-meh) means "branched bean" in Japanese, and it's a much sexier way of saying "green soybean" or "Asian pea," right?

And, surprisingly, shelled edamame are widely available.

ORANGE-EDAMAME-TOFU STIR FRY

Servings: Four

Note: From "The Woman's Day Everyday Cookbook," by the editors of Woman's Day.

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1 (14-oz.) package extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic

2 teaspoon freshly minced peeled ginger root

1 bunch asparagus, cut into pieces

2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced

1 cup (about 5 oz.) frozen shelled edamame

1 (3½-oz.) package sliced shiitake mushrooms

½ cup sliced green onions

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup water, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and crushed red pepper, and reserve.

Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook 5 minutes, turning often, until golden. Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 seconds. Remove.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in skillet. Add asparagus, peppers, edamame and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add orange juice mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in tofu and green onions and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired, and serve immediately over brown rice.

Per serving: Calories 230, fat 11 g, sodium 470 mg, carbohydrates 20 g, saturated fat 1 g, calcium 247 mg, protein 19 g, cholesterol 0 g, dietary fiber 7 g

EDAMAME,GREEN BEAN AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Servings: Eight to 10

Note: To toast cumin seeds, cook in a dry, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until they are fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. From "Gourmet Today" edited by Ruth Reichl.

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

12 oz. (about 2½ cups) frozen shelled edamame

1 (19-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large garlic clove

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

½ teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile, including seeds, or to taste

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (see Note)

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Cook green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. With a wire skimmer or a slotted spoon, immediately transfer beans to a large bowl of ice water. When beans are cool, transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Return water to a boil and cook edamame until crisp-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer edamame to a bowl of ice water. When edamame are cool, drain and transfer to paper towels to dry.

Pat green beans dry and transfer to a large bowl. Pat edamame dry and add to green beans. Stir in chickpeas.

Mince garlic. Using the side of a large, heavy knife, mash garlic and ½ teaspoon salt into a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a blender. Add cilantro leaves, serrano chile, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin seeds and cayenne and blend, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth. Add dressing to beans, season with salt and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for one hour to allow flavors to blend. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: Calories 194, fat 11 g, sodium 176 mg, carbohydrates 18 g, saturated fat 1 g, calcium 65 mg, protein 8 g, cholesterol 0 g, dietary fiber 6 g

CLASSIC RICE PILAF WITH EDAMAME

Servings: Four to six

Note: If jasmine rice is unavailable, use basmati or another long-grain white rice. For an optional garnish, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, diced dried apricots, golden raisins, toasted slivered almonds, unsalted pistachios and/or dried currants. From "Zov" by Zov Karamardian.

½ cup vermicelli noodles

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter

1 cup jasmine rice

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 oz. (about 2 cups) frozen shelled edamame

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

1¾ cups vegetable broth

¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange vermicelli on a heavy baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in rice and toasted vermicelli. Stir in salt, pepper, edamame, dill, vegetable broth and water. Increase heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes (do not stir rice as it cooks). Remove saucepan from heat. Fluff rice with a large fork. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Per servings: Calories 300, fat 14 g, sodium 675 mg, carbohydrates 36 g, saturated fat 8 g, calcium 46 mg, protein 8 g, cholesterol 31 g, dietary fiber 3 g

EDAMAME AND SPINACH WITH GOLDEN ONIONS

Servings: Four

"Serve this soupy dish over plenty of rice or another steamed grain," writes author Jack Bishop in "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen." He also suggests spooning it over mashed potatoes.

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds flat-leaf spinach, stems removed, leaves washed (and shaken dry to remove excess water) and chopped (about 12 cups)

12 oz. (about 2½ cups) frozen shelled edamame

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Heat canola oil in a large casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in spinach and cook just until it starts to wilt, about 1 minute. Add frozen edamame, cover and cook until spinach is tender and edamame are heated through, about 4 minutes.

Remove cover and add soy sauce and pepper to taste. Simmer to blend flavors, about 2 minutes. Drizzle sesame oil over mixture and serve.

Per serving: Calories 245, fat 14 g, sodium 554 mg, carbohydrates 20 g, saturated fat 1 g, calcium 260 mg, protein 15 g, cholesterol 0 g, dietary fiber 9 g

ORZO, EDAMAME AND SHRIMP SAUTE

Servings: Four

Note: Orzo is tiny, rice-shaped pasta. Defrost frozen edamame by running under cool water in a sieve. From "Vegetable Love," by Barbara Kafka.

2 cups orzo

4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp

4 green onions, trimmed and very finely chopped

10 oz. (about 2 cups) frozen shelled edamame

1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably tamari

2 to 4 teaspoons freshly grated peeled ginger root

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook orzo until al dente (tender but firm), about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and green onions and toss until shrimp turn uniformly pink, about 2 minutes. Add edamame, cooked orzo and cilantro and toss until edamame are warmed through. Add soy sauce, scraping bottom of pan. Remove pan from heat, add ginger and mix well. Orzo should be creamy; if not, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and toss again. Serve hot.

Per serving: Calories 600, fat 20 g, sodium 1,550 mg, carbohydrates 66 g, saturated fat 3 g, calcium, 150 mg, protein 38 g, cholesterol 175 g, dietary fiber 8 g

EDAMAME SPREAD

Makes: 1 cup

Note: From "Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus," by Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean.

10 oz. (about 2 cups) frozen shelled edamame, thawed

½ cup or more cream or milk

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine edamame with cream (or milk) and puree until smooth (add additional cream or milk to desired consistency). Transfer puree to a medium bowl, stir in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or crostini.

Per 2 tablespoons: Calories 64, fat 4 g, sodium 8 mg, carbohydrates 4 g, saturated fat 1 g, calcium 39 mg, protein 4 g, cholesterol 6 g, dietary fiber 2 g

 

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