Seasonal Soba Noodle Salad V, GF

soba noodles, black olives, watermelon, forbidden hazelnut clusters, pickled cumquats, basil

soba noodles, black olives, watermelon, forbidden hazelnut clusters, pickled cumquats, basil

Here are all of the components of the soba noodle salad pictured here. There are so many options for using produce that reflects the season. Keep the noodles, dressing and clusters and switch out the melon, cumquats and olives for produce that works for whatever season it is. There will be a rotating version of this available at my booth at the Logan Square Farmers Market starting June 3, 2018. Recipe below feeds 6-8 as a side and 4-6 as a meal. 


1 mixing bowl
vitamix (any blender will do but vitamix is the best)
high rimmed pot
heat proof container for hot oil
metal bowl strainer or chinois
2 baking sheets one lined with parchment and paper towels, one lined with greased parchment
heat proof spatula
2 1-2qt saucepan
2 glass jars
cutting board

For the Salad:
100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles or other soba noodles of choice, cooked and refrigerated
Pickled cumquats with red hot pepper (recipe below)
“devine flavor” watermelon or watermelon of choice (season’s coming), washed, sliced (save rind for pickling??)
Hazelnut dressing (recipe below)
Forbidden hazelnut crispy clusters (recipe below)
Black olives (pitted and roughly chopped leaving large chunks)
Fresh basil
Pinch salt

Cooking Soba Noodles:
I find that cooking soba noodles always takes less time than advertised on the package, which also ironically also states, "Do not overcook". The 100% soba noodles I used in this recipe say 8-10 minutes, I cooked them for 6 and tested them at 4. Other soba noodles I have used that contain wheat flour or tapioca starch have taken closer to 4 minutes. You really don't want to overcook them. Don't be alarmed that they congeal into a mass in the refrigerator, I'll address that below. 

For the Dressing:
Hazelnut oil
Vinegar of choice (I like sherry)
Light Agave

This is a recipe that tastes good based on your preference of ratios. I used about 1.25c hazelnut oil, .25c vinegar, 1T mustard, 1T light agave, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. If you don't feel comfortable flying by the seat of your pants with this, use this ratio and adjust after tasting. Add all ingredients to the blender aside from the oil. Cover and turn blender on to medium and then stream the oil in steadily. Turn blender to high until you notice emulsification has taken place, about 7-8 seconds. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. This amount of dressing will be enough for about 6-8 batches of salad. Use it on other salads, it will keep for a while. 

For the Clusters:
1/2 c. Raw hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
1/2 c. Forbidden rice
2 c. High heat oil
Coriander, cinnamon, fennel, salt, pepper, cayenne
1/3c. Sugar 

Bring the oil (1-2 inches deep) to near smoking point in a high rimmed pot. Have the rice and heat proof container with bowl strainer set up very close by along with the parchment lined baking sheets. While the oil is heating add 1/3c sugar to a small saucepan and add a bit of water until you get a wet sand mixture. Look at the pot from the side and see if smoke is starting to be produced. That is how you know it is ready. Add the rice as quickly as possible. Just as quickly (once you see all of the rice has puffed), dump the rice and oil through the strainer into the heat proof container. Shake off excess oil and dump rice onto paper towel lined parchment. Turn the heat to high on the sugar pot. Have the rice, greased parchment lined pan, toasted hazelnuts, spices and salt nearby. The sugar will begin to boil and boil rapidly and eventually start to caramelize which you can smell. Once a light caramel smell is produced, add the rice and hazelnuts stirring with the heat proof spatula. Once coated, turn out onto the baking sheet and spread out into clusters lightly. Add a sprinkle of salt and spices (which will stick best if you add them right away). Set aside. 

Cumquat and watermelon rind pickles

Cumquat and watermelon rind pickles

For pickles:
handful of cumquats (or however many you would like to thinly slice and pickle)
1 red chili sliced
1/3 c vinegar (I used 2T rice vinegar, half remaining amount sherry vin and half apple cider vin)
1/3 c water
wedge of leftover onion
4T sugar possibly more, depending
Whole spices of choice (I used 1/4 star anise, 8 peppercorns and 6 coriander seeds)
Salt to taste (start with 2 tsp)

Add vinegar, water, onion wedge, sugar, salt and whole spices to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Slice cumquats thinly with a sharp knife, removing seeds as you go. Add cumquats and sliced chili to a glass jar. You can also pickle the rind of the watermelon as well, just remove the skin and cut into desired shapes and triple or quadruple the recipe for pickling liquid. Would be best if done the day before


To assemble the salad add noodles watermelon and olives to the mixing bowl. add a little bit of pickling liquid, a pinch of salt and about a tsp+ of dressing. Break the noodles up with clean hands. They should come apart with the lubrication from the dressing and pickling liquid. Twirl noodles on a fork and arrange on a serving platter scattering watermelon and olives. Break up chunks of the clusters and distribute on top, tear basil and stick it here and there. Add a few pickled cumquat and chili slices. Enjoy! 

Radical Larder