Soba Noodle Salad with Leek, Shiitake Mushroom and Baked Tofu -4 servings
1 12-oz pkg Dry soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
2 T Good quality soy sauce
1 tsp Light brown sugar, packed
1 T Asian toasted sesame oil
3 T Peanut oil or other high smoke point oil, e.g. grapeseed, safflower, or sunflower
2 cups Finely julienned leeks (light green and white parts of two medium leeks)
1 T Finely minced or grated ginger
2 cups Sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps(about 12 large, 2-3 inch diameter)
8 oz Baked tofu, julienned
1/2 cup Finely julienned celery
1/2 cup Finely julienned carrots
1 tsp Kosher salt
Pinch Freshly ground pepper
3 T Shiro miso (also known as white miso)
3 T Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 T Light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tsp grated lime zest (about one medium lime)
2 T lime juice (about one medium lime)
2 T Finely minced Japanese pickled ginger (found in the refrigerated section)
1 each Fresh jalapeno, seeded, finely diced (more or less to taste)
3/4 cup Chopped cilantro
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Boil the soba noodles for about 1 min, 45 seconds (this noodle turns from al dente to overcooked in a matter of seconds so stand by it and start testing for doneness at about 1 min 30 seconds). As soon as the noodles are al dente but no longer crunchy, drain in a colander/strainer and immediately place strainer into ice bath. Stir noodles to cool them as fast as possible and strain, shaking out excess water (do not let noodles sit in the water after they’re cooled). Place noodles on several layers of paper towels and blot with several more layers of towels. Toss noodles with soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil mixture. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet and add 3 Tbsp peanut oil. When oil is hot, add the leeks, ginger and shiitake and stir fry till fragrant. Add the baked tofu, celery and carrots and stir fry till heated through, about 1½ - 2 minutes (celery and carrots will be still be crisp). Stir in 1 tsp kosher salt and pinch of pepper. Set mixture aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine miso, mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil, lime zest/juice, and minced pickled ginger. Mix well and set aside.
Just before serving, toss the vegetables with the dressing, and then toss with the pre-seasoned noodles. Sprinkle with jalapeno and cilantro. Serve at room temperature.
NOTE: All components can be made ahead, kept separately, covered, and chilled.