I had a great meal last weekend at cocoron in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. cocoron is a soba shop, serving up noodle bowls both hot and cold. I had the warm vege oroshi soba, which was a simple steaming bowl of soba noodles with vegetables: daikon radish, watercress, ginger…perfect with a side of spicy kimchi and cabbage with a miso-sesame dressing.
Slurping up a big bowl of noodles screams comfort, and I am on such a soba kick right now. My one qualm with soba noodles is how sticky they get when I make them at home. They are so starchy and end up mushing together. Now I know that I need to rinse them after draining to take off the excess starch.
I remember when I first got the Sprouted Kitchen‘s cookbook late last summer, this Soba Bowl with Tea-Poached Salmon caught my eye immediately. It was the first thing I made from the cookbook, and after making it again tonight, I knew I had to share the recipe here.
This recipe looks a bit involved, but there are really just 3 parts: roasting broccoli, poaching the salmon, and preparing the sauce. All of this happens simultaneously, so the meal really comes together quite quickly. I think broccoli goes great with this type of dish, but if you prefer to use another seasonal vegetable, maybe asparagus or bok choy or sautéed greens, feel free. If you can’t find soba noodles at your store, you can use spaghetti or rice noodles. And to make the meal vegetarian, simply omit the fish or poach some tofu…
Soba Bowls with Tea-Poached Salmon
adapted from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook, serves 4
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons agave nectar
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 bunch broccoli or other seasonal vegetable
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt
3 bags green tea
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 cup mirin or dry white wine
1 pound wild salmon fillet
Putting it all together:
1 (8-9.5-ounce) pack soba noodles
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white or black sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, tahini, agave nectar, lime zest and juice, tamari, and grated ginger until smooth. Set aside.
Roast the broccoli: Cut the broccoli into small florets, including some of the stems. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil, garlic, and salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Poach the salmon: In a saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low, add the tea bags and peppercorns and steep for 3 minutes, then discard the tea bags. Add the mirin to the poaching liquid. Gentle slide in the salmon, skin side down. Cover, and cook until the salmon is just barely cooked in the middle, 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. If in doubt, it is better to undercook the salmon a bit rather than overcook it. Remove the salmon to a plate and flake it with a fork. Set aside.
Putting it all together: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions or until al dente. Drain the noodles. In a large bowl, toss together the warm noodles, broccoli, dressing, green onions, and sesame seeds. Divide the noodles among bowls and top with a portion of the salmon. Serve.