Soba Noodle Salad / by Cynthia Raub

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Noodles! There are thousands of different kinds, and I love them all. But I am particularly fond of soba - chewy, nutty, Japanese buckwheat noodles. When I feel health-conscious, I choose soba noodles because . . . I’m not sure! They are gluten-free, but that doesn’t matter to me. They are lower calorie than pasta made with wheat, but that doesn’t matter to me either! I think it’s because they can be dressed lightly and eaten cold that makes me *feel* they are a more healthful choice. I dressed the soba noodle salad with a Ginger Scallion Sauce, courtesy of one of my favorite chefs, David Chang. For the children, I set aside their portion and used the remaining sauce from the Crispy Chicken Wings to dress their noodles. 

Notes: Cold noodle salads are flexible and easy to customize with different vegetables, proteins and sauces. In this recipe, I used shelled edamame, julienned carrots, roasted cauliflower, and red bell peppers; you could also use shredded cabbage, thinly sliced half-rounds of cucumber, julienne of zucchini, sautéed mushrooms, blanched baby spinach . . . really, anything! The same goes for sauces I’ll often make a rice wine vinaigrette, a carrot ginger salad dressing or a very light peanut sauce to dress soba.

Servings: 4-6
Time: 30 minutes

4 bundles (or 360 grams) soba noodles (prepared according to the package)
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 cup Shelled edamame
1 cup Carrot, julienned
1 cup Cauliflower florets
1 cup Red bell pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon neutral oil (vegetable, canola, and grapeseed all work)

Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and dress lightly with sesame seed oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, add 1 tablespoon oil to a medium pan, bring up to medium-high heat, until oil barely begins to smoke. Add cauliflower to the pan, and cook until the first side is brown - about 2-3 minutes. Shake pan vigorously and continue to cook until desired doneness. (I like fork-tender cruciferous vegetables, so I cooked mine for about 6 minutes). Set aside. Julienne carrots and red bell peppers, set aside with prepared edamame. Combine noodles and vegetables in a large bowl. 

Ginger Scallion Sauce
from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang

Servings: 1 cup of sauce
Time: 15 minutes

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (green and whites, from 2-3 large bunches)
½ cup finely minced fresh ginger
¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1½ teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed.