Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Strawberries
To me, there is nothing more refreshing for a warm-weather lunch or dinner than a cold noodle salad. While adding strawberries to a salad like this may seem unusual, and it is, it really works. The juiciness of the berries adds a cool and sweet-tart contrast to the slight spiciness of the peppers and the salty miso dressing. While the salad can marinate and improve even for several hours, the strawberries won’t hold up well, so toss them in just before serving. This is nice plated as a first course or served as a side with anything off the grill, but especially chicken, flank steak, or pork tenderloin.
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white miso
1 hot red chile, finely minced, or more to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
For the Salad:
One 8-or 8.8-ounce package soba noodles, cooked and rinsed
4 ounces shishito peppers (if not in season, substitute cubanelle or poblano peppers)
2 Kirby or Persian (mini) cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced on the bias into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut in half (about 2 cups)
1 small red chile, thinly sliced
2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped if large
Makes 8 servings
To make the dressing: Stir the vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl until dissolved. Add the miso, chile, and oil and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Place noodles in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing.
Grill the shishito peppers on a hot grill, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until blistered and softened. Cool, then slice on a bias, avoiding the seeds.
Top the dressed noodles with the grilled peppers, the cucumbers, strawberries, chile, scallions, mint, and cilantro and mix gently to combine.
Up to 1 day ahead: Cook the soba noodles; rinse them with cool water, lightly oil them, and store in a resealable bag or container in the fridge. When ready to serve, put in the colander and run cold water over them to loosen, if needed. Make the dressing; refrigerate.
A few hours ahead: Blister the shishitos.
1 hour ahead: Prep the herbs and strawberries.
At the last minute: Toss all the salad ingredients together. Don’t add the strawberries until just before serving.
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Reprinted from Open Kitchen by Susan Spungen with permission by Avery
Photography copyright: Gentl + Hyers © 2019
Susan Spungen is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, and author. She was the food editor at Martha Stewart Living from its founding in 1991 to 2003. She was the culinary consultant and food stylist on the feature films Julie & Julia, It's Complicated, and Eat, Pray, Love. She is the author of Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook, What's a Hostess to Do?, and Short Stack Editions' Strawberries. She also co-authored Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook, which was a bestseller. Susan lives in New York City and East Hampton, NY.