While poking around the other day, I realized I’ve shared a good amount of pasta with you, but have all but failed you in the other noodle categories. I mean, yes, I’m Italian-American so cooking pasta comes as naturally to me as being dramatic, but it’s a total misrepresentation of the noodles that grace my kitchen. There’s a whole shelf filled with various pastas as well as rice sticks, pad thai, udon, and, my favorite, soba.
Chilled soba noodle salads are so satisfying yet light that I turn to them often. This recipe is really a launch pad because it’s the basis from which I make all sorts of soba variations. If I don’t have wasabi on hand, I leave it out and just adjust the other flavors accordingly. If there’s a ton of watercress in the produce drawer, it gets swirled in with the noodles. And during the winter months, I’ll throw roasted diced squash with some tofu; so, rifle through your pantry and make this your own — no matter what you decide to do to it, it’ll still be pretty easy and plenty tasty.
cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
trimmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced paper thin
trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
peeled and grated
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a bowl halfway with ice water and set aside. When water boils, add soba and cook 4 minutes less than directed. Stir in the salt and the shrimp and cook until bright pink and firm, about 3 minutes. Place snow peas in a sieve then drain shrimp and noodles over the snow peas (the residual heat from cooking will flash cook the snow peas) and let sit 1 minute.
Drain and place noodles, shrimp, and snow peas in ice water and let cool completely. While the noodles cool, make the dressing. Place everything except the oils, wasabi, and ginger in a blender or small food processor. Process and, with the motor running, drizzle in the oils. Whisk in the ginger and wasabi, taste, and add more soy or sugar, as desired.
Drain the noodles, shrimp, and snow peas then add to a large bowl with the bell pepper and cucumber. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Top with green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Food styling and photo by Aida Mollenkamp