08/23/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe and Photo by Mackenzie Smith

Japanese cold soba; cucumber and cold noodles, a smattering fresh mint and cilantro with sesame and crispy shallots for texture. Add peanuts or pepitas for more crunch? Fresh scallions instead of fried shallots? Other herbs? The other half of that avocado or a soft boiled egg? Sliced purple peppers from this week’s CSA? Yes! This summer salad welcomes improv. Get into it!

I prefer a 1:1 cucumber to noodle ratio, because it always makes me feel better about the extra taco I had the night before, but you do you. Measuring thinly sliced cucumbers into a cup is extra, so I err on the side of “this looks like a good mix”, then add more dressing or veggies if it looks and tastes like I need it. I make a big batch of soba at the beginning of the week and then chop fresh cukes, etc into it every day for lunch, taking a different spin on the dressing each day. A spoonful of peanut butter if I have it, a little scoop of miso, the leftover juice from a pan of roasted veggies, a la Megan Winfrey-- anything goes.
  • Soba noodles (available at most Asian markets, Wheatsville Coop, Whole Foods, etc)
  • Juice from half a lime
  • A teaspoon of sesame oil
  • A tablespoon of olive or canola oil
  • Maybe: miso, peanut butter
  • Honey
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fried onion or shallot (I have a big jar of crispy shallots at Hana World on Parmer, but French’s classic fried onions work well here, too.)
  • A copious amount of cilantro and mint
Photo by Mackenzie Smith. Photo by Mackenzie Smith.

Cook soba according to directions on the package, rinse in cold water, then place on a bed of ice cubes to chill while you make your dressing. Drain.

Stir together lime juice, sesame & salad oil and a quick squeeze of honey. Add salt or soy sauce to taste. Mix in all but a small handful of cucumbers in the dressing, then add the noodles. Taste them. Need more salt? More tang? Adjust as you need to with lime juice or rice vinegar and salt. Top your noodles with the rest of the cucumbers, sprinkle with fried shallot and sesame seeds, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Bon Appetit!