Alabama Ramen Bowl

Largemouth bass meets pulled pork in this redneck riff on the Japanese noodle soup.

alabama ramen bowl
The recipe here is a countrified riff on a ramen bowl, inspired by the cookbook writer Cree Lefavour, in which largemouth bass meets pulled pork in a deeply satisfying broth.Plamen Petkov

Ramen has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, bearing no resemblance to the gloppy flavor-pack versions that many of us have slurped during lean camping trips. The recipe here is a countrified riff on a ramen bowl, inspired by the cookbook writer Cree Lefavour, in which largemouth bass meets pulled pork in a deeply satisfying broth. This is a great use for leftovers from a barbecued pork shoulder, but you can also use the precooked pulled pork that’s sold in supermarkets; simply rinse off all of the barbecue sauce from the pork first. Crappie, bream, catfish, walleye, or just about any other white-fleshed fish will stand in for the largemouth bass fillets.

Ingredients | Serves 4

  • 2 largemouth bass fillets,
  • cut into 4 pieces (about
  • 2 oz. per serving)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 8 radishes, cleaned and halved
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup roasted seaweed (two sheets of nori), shredded
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 8 oz. ramen noodles (discard
  • the flavoring packet)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 4-oz. can bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz. pulled pork, warmed
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the butter, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt in a small frying pan over ­medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are wilted and browned. Set aside.

  2. In a large soup pot combine the stock, radishes, ginger, seaweed, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste the stock, adding salt and/or more chili flakes as desired.

  3. In the meantime, bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and add the noodles, cooking until just tender. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer equal portions of noodles to four soup bowls. Keep the pot warm.

  4. Add the fish to the simmering stock and raise the heat to medium. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

  5. Meanwhile, bring the water in which you cooked the noodles to barely a simmer and carefully add the eggs to the water to poach. (This is easier if you break each egg into a small bowl or ram­e­kin, taking care not to break the yolk, and then gently tilt each egg into the water from the bowl.) Cook for 2 minutes, so the whites are firm but the yolks remain runny, then transfer to a plate.

  6. Build the ramen bowls: With a slotted spoon, divide the fish among the soup bowls, atop the noodles. Remove the ginger from the stock and discard. Divide the radishes among the bowls along with the bamboo shoots, the pulled pork, and the reserved mushrooms. Return the stock to a boil and then ladle into the bowls. Top each bowl with a poached egg, garnish with the green onions and cilantro, and serve. Serves 4

DRINK PAIRING

Beer and ramen are a natural pairing, and not just in dorm rooms. Your favorite pilsner will work well here, as will a ­Belgian-​style wheat beer of the Blue Moon variety. If you've never tried Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan, however, consider this dish the perfect invitation.

Wine drinkers should grab a Chenin Blanc—the 2015 ­Secateurs from South Africa's Badenhorst Family Wines has lots of gnarly elegance.