When I turn to tasty soba noodles to offer me some sustenance, I’m more likely than not to dress them with julienned raw veggies and the sesame oil vinaigrette I threw on these rice noodles I made a while back. For a recent mag club, though, I wanted something a little different–but I also wanted something different from the hearty fall dishes like gratins I was starting to feel like I was eating ad nauseum (not literally). So I mixed in the seasonal sweet potato, an untraditional vegetable for a soba salad. I also threw in some edamame, then tied everything together with a simple, quick-to-make teriyaki sauce and some toasted sesame seeds. Served just warm of room temperature, the noodles were slightly unexpected, pleasantly light, and for whatever unknown reason just right next to the sundried tomato paninis Phoebe brought. It must have been some kind of cross-cultural synergy.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Teriyaki Soba Salad
1 teaspoon peanut or safflower oil, plus more for roasting the sweet potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon honey
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1 small sweet potato, cut in 3/4-inch dice
1 cup napa cabbage, finely shredded
5 oz soba noodles
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the sweet potato with a little bit of oil (I used the fabulous Misto sprayer) and lay the cubes out on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until nearly soft, then toss with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in an un-oiled pan until fragrant and golden. Set aside.
Saute the garlic and ginger in the 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. When the garlic is translucent, add the remaining soy sauce, the rice wine, the honey, and 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil slowly, simmer for a minute or two, then add the julienned carrots, simmer another minute or two, then add the cabbage and most of the sesame seeds. Continue to cook until the carrots have softened (you don’t want them too limp) and the cabbage has wilted.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the soba noodles, and cook until tender, according to package directions. About 2 minutes before cooking time is complete, add the edamame. Drain both in a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the teriyaki sauce with the noodles and edamame and the sweet potatoes, adding some of the cooking water if the noodles seem dry. Taste and add more soy sauce as needed. Serve hot or warm, garnished with the remaining sesame seeds.