Heat wave? Time to make soba noodle salad
July 16, 2008
We are well into the dog days of summer here and this dish is the perfect solution for a quick, easy, light and cool dinner. I love making cold soba noodle salad after a day at the pool or when the mercury rises above 90 (the two usually coincide as it did today). Soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles, higher in protein and fiber than wheat or rice noodles.
This is Korean comfort food, amazingly simple to make yet so satisfying. I like to eat it without meat, but one can easily add some shrimp, pork or even sashimi. One key ingredient that may not be easily accessible to all is fresh perilla leaves, available at most Asian grocery stores. Perilla is a member of the mint family and is not unlike arugula or fennel with a strong, unique flavor all its own.
Perilla – a staple of Korean summer recipes
In addition to selling it in small packets in the produce section, Korean grocery stores often sell perilla in pots in the late spring/early summer. Once planted in the ground (full to partial sun), you won’t ever have to buy another perilla plant again. The plants go to seed in the early fall and will self-propagate. By next summer, you will have a profusion of perilla plants growing in a 5 feet radius around the original plant.
Soba noodles usually come in pre-measured single serving bunches.
SOBA NOODLE SALAD
4 bunches of soba noodles
10 perilla leaves, sliced thinly
2 C. mixed baby greens
1/4 – 1/2 thinly sliced red onion
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. vinegar
1/4 C. + 3 Tbs. sugar (more or less to taste)
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. water
crushed toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, olive oil and water in small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
Toss greens, perilla, onions and noodles in dressing. Garnish with crushed toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.