Soba Salad veg, VF
Soba noodles are extremely versatile. I think they taste best cold, lightly dressed with fruit, nuts and nutty cheese. Here is the recipe for the one that started it all at my pop up at Ipsento 606. Makes 6 salads
4 quart pot with lid
mandoline--not necessary but ideal
small heat proof container such as a 16oz jar
small sauce pan
small baking sheet
sharp paring knife
1 package Zaru Soba noodles
12oz hazelnut oil
1c sherry vinegar
1-2T dijon mustard
1.5-2T honey or agave nectar
1 star anise
8 coriander seeds
3 satsuma oranges
6 spears of fresh spring asparagus
2 oz pecorino cheese
1 pt cumquats--may as well pickle a bunch and use 'em on all kinds of things
about 30-40 raw skin on hazelnuts
6-12 mint leaves
For the noodles: In the 4 quart pot bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon or so of salt and then add four bundles of soba noodles stirring to separate the noodles. Set a timer for 4 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool, set aside (makes about 1.5 quarts).
For the nuts: Spread the hazelnuts on the baking sheet, coat with water and sprinkle with salt. Toast for approximately 8 minutes. Check them at 5 minutes and go from there. Set aside to cool. Once they are cool cut each nut in half (very rough chop).
For the pickled cumquats: slice the cumquats as thin as possible with a sharp paring knife removing seeds as you go and place slices into a heat resistant container of appropriate size. In a small sauce pan, add 2/3c sherry vin, 1/2c water, 2/3c sugar, 1T salt, one star anise, 8 coriander seeds and bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Bring up to a boil and immediately pour over sliced cumquats. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
For the dressing: Put 2oz or about 1/4c sherry vinegar, 1T grainy dijon, 1.5-2T honey or agave, a pinch of fresh ground black pepper and 1/2t kosher salt in the blender. Turn the blender to medium speed and stream in 10-12oz of hazelnut oil. Turn blender to high for 5-10 seconds. Taste and adjust acidity/saltiness/sweetness with vinegar or mustard/salt/honey. (There will be some left over)
Assembly (for one salad): Take your mixing bowl and add about 1c. of noodles packed. Add 1/2 satsuma orange separating the segments and cutting them in half. Shave the asparagus on the mandoline or cut each spear in half and thinly slice with a knife (in that case cut into 1-2 inch pieces). Add 5 pickled cumquat slices and a few drops of their juice. Shave 5-6 slices of cheese into the bowl. Tear two or 3 mint leaves and add those. Add toasted hazelnuts. Shake the dressing well and add a little over a teaspoon to the bowl. Use your hand to break up the soba noodles and coat them in the dressing. Toss the ingredients until well coated. Taste a noodle and make sure the saltiness and dressing are on point.
Take a fork and spin a third of the noodles into a spiral and lay on the plate. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Place the other ingredients on top of the noodles evenly dispursing. Serve and enjoy.