You're looking at one of the dishes I make in the summer on my beach vacation. In fact, I might be eating a mess of it right this minute, as I am Out of Office, in Microsoft Outlook-speak.
I have been known to nosh on this noodle salad for breakfast, being of the cold-spaghetti camp, and for lunch I might top it with leftover grilled proteins.
Dried soba noodles are more widely available than they used to be, but I've gotten in the habit of stashing a few packs in my luggage; the other few Asian ingredients are already in the rental house pantry.
The salad has a just-right blend of cool crunch in the cucumber and fresh cilantro; creamy avocado and peanut butter; and salty-tangy soy, Sriracha and lime juice. I tend to double the amount of sprinkled sesame seeds originally called for in the original recipe, which comes from Jonathan Bardzik, a Washington-based cook and blogger with a couple of cookbooks and lots of farmers market appearances to his name.
ASIAN PEANUT NOODLE SALAD
Whether you serve it at room temperature or chilled, this dish offers a nice blend of mild crunch, nutty-tasting noodles and a quick no-cook dressing.
MAKE AHEAD: Depending on how you like your salad dressed, you may have a little of the peanut butter dressing left over; it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from "Simple Summer: A Recipe for Cooking and Entertaining With Ease," by Jonathan Bardzik (Tarnow Entertainment, 2013).
• 1 English (seedless) cucumber
• 1 ripe Hass avocado (optional)
• 2 scallions
• 8 ounces dried soba noodles (100 percent buckwheat)
• 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (may substitute well-blended tahini)
• 1/4 cup warm water
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 3 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
• 1/2 to 1 lime
• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
• 2 or 3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Steps Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, if you like. Cut it in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch half-moons. If using, cut the avocado in half and discard the pit and the skin of one half (reserving the other half for another use); cut the flesh into 1/4-inch slices or bite-size chunks. Trim the scallions, then cut the white and green parts into very thin slices.
Add the soba noodles to the boiling water; cook for a few minutes shy of the package directions, so the texture is al dente; drain, rinse well and drain again, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
Whisk together the peanut butter and warm water in a tall liquid measuring cup until well blended. Pour in the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and vinegar and a squirt or two of Sriracha (to taste), whisking to form a fairly smooth dressing. Taste, then squeeze in 1 or 2 tablespoons of lime juice (to taste).
Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the noodles in the bowl; use tongs to toss and coat evenly. Add the scallions and toss to incorporate. Add some or all of the remaining dressing, as you like.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the cucumbers; the avocado, if using; some cilantro sprigs; and roasted sesame seeds.
Nutrition | Per serving: 370 calories, 14 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 740 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar