August 16, 2013

Dog Days Recipe: Noodle Salad

This recipe was inspired by the fantastic noodle salad Sarah of SEE Studio and I had for lunch after a hot, sticky morning hiking in Yellow Springs, OH. Check out Sarah's take on the hike, and a silly photo of me, here.

Nothing special

This salad came together with what was available in my fridge. Quantities are a guesstimate. Both quantities and ingredients are open to improvisation.

10 oz soba noodles (The salad that inspired it all was made with rice noodles. Use whatever you've got. Soba have a strong, distinct flavor.)
6-8 oz extra firm tofu
1 red bell pepper
3/4 package of broccoli slaw mix (the mix I had contained carrots)
toasted sesame oil
rice vinegar
soy sauce
sesame seeds

Cook noodles according to package directions. Run under cold water to separate & chill noodles. Transfer to a large bowl for mixing. Cut tofu into small cubes, no larger than 1/4 inch square. Blanch tofu cubes in boiling water, drain, and set aside to cool. (I've read boiling the tofu briefly improves it's texture when nothing else is to be done to it cooking-wise. I haven't fact checked this little nugget of tofu lore, but I do prefer boiled tofu to straight from the package tofu for my salads.) Cut pepper into matchsticks. Add pepper and broccoli slaw to the noodles. Drizzle lightly with sesame oil & rice vinegar. Mix well - I use my hands to distribute the veggies and dressing and separate the noodles. Take a taste. Adjust oil and vinegar as needed. Add soy sauce to taste and throw in a generous amount of sesame seeds (2 Tbs?). Mix again. Taste & adjust dressing elements as needed. When satisfied with the taste, add tofu and mix gently. If you chill the salad before serving, allow it to warm up slightly before serving. You don't want congealed oil in there! And mix it again before serving to redistribute the dressing.

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