This is what happens when a noodle junkie needs a fix. She starts looking at recipes in a whole new way, vigilant for opportunities to incorporate slippery, chewy strands of noodles for a quick, one-bowl meal.
Since I started experimenting with whole grains, I’ve come to realize how easy it really is to switch out the carbs in most dishes to feature quinoa, farro or even lentils, in place of refined wheat. I’ve committed this principle of substitution to heart in my cooking that I’m expanding it into noodle territory, particularly soba – Japanese buckwheat noodles.
While I’m firm friends with egg noodles (of the Chinese and Italian varieties) and flat rice noodles, soba noodles and I are still getting to know each other. It’s deceived me so far with its unassuming presentation at Japanese restaurants, arriving as a mound of buckwheat strands accompanied by its dipping sauce. Instead of viewing its simplicity as a statement of quality, I deemed it too boring for consumption. It wasn’t until I read Sarka’s post and got myself a copy of Plenty that I began to see soba in a whole new light, mixed with other ingredients and dressings for a very different type of dish. A little unconventional, yes, but inspiring nonetheless.
The edamame here comes by way of Cheryl‘s and Paulette‘s newly-released cookbook, Ripe. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s essentially a celebration of produce in all its technicolor glory. Organized by colors (red for cranberries, rhubarb and strawberries; yellow for corn and kumquats), each ingredient gets the royal treatment from Cheryl’s wit, a couple of suggested uses, followed by a recipe. There are many excellent ones to try (Blueberry Nutmeg Cake!!), but it was the Edamame Salad with Toasted Nori that really seduced me at the book launch party back in April. Yes, April. Somewhere between then and now, the substitution principle worked its magic, and voila, here’s a tasty noodle salad perfect for summer picnics. Don’t forget to slurp.
Edamame Soba Salad With Garlic And Toasted Seaweed
A Japanese grocery store would be your best resource for most (if not all) of the ingredients. In her original recipe, Cheryl calls for toasting the seaweed sheets before shredding them. She later discovered that Trader Joe’s now sells packs of roasted seaweed sheets that are perfect for this dish, so get thee to a Trader Joe’s, stat. If you enjoy your meals with a bit of heat, feel free to increase the amount of chili and garlic. While everything can be prepared a day ahead and tossed together just before serving, I’d recommend cooking the garlic at the very last minute so that it maintains its crispiness.
- 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 ounces/ 60 grams granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium serrano chili, thinly sliced
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 14 ounces/ 400 grams dried buckwheat noodles
- 1 pound/ 454 grams frozen and shelled edamame
- 5-6 medium cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- About 6 sheets of Trader Joe’s roasted seaweed (each sheet measures about 2×3 inches).
- Combine the rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Add the 3 teaspoons of sesame oil and the chili – veins and seeds intact – and set aside to cool.
- Bring two quarts of heavily salted water to boil then add the noodles and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. When they’re done, drain and rinse in cold water and leave to dry on a tea towel while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook the edamame according to package directions then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Combine the garlic and 4 tablespoons of sesame oil in a skillet over low to medium heat and cook until the garlic starts to crisp and turn golden. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat.
- To serve, toss the noodles with the dressing and edamame in a large bowl, then stir in the garlic-sesame oil mixture. Shred the seaweed over everything and allow your guests to help themselves.