Delicate and nutty, soba noodles — Japanese noodles made with buckwheat flour (often mixed with wheat flour to make them sturdier) — are the base for this summery salad that’s filling but not at all heavy. When you boil the noodles, stir the water often and check the strands after six minutes; keep checking until they hit a nice toothy texture, then drain and cool down quickly under running water. The noodles are tossed with vegetables, dressed with toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha, and fresh ginger, and garnished with an egg. This dish highlights first-of-the-season snap peas, but adapt it with whatever catches your eye at the market: Napa cabbage cut into shreds with a shower of chives; fine strips of zucchini and sweet cherry tomatoes; even strawberries (really!). Ditto proteins: shredded rotisserie chicken or chunks of chilled salmon could easily stand in for the eggs. It’s a simple, flexible, and delightful salad, served cold — all the ways we love to eat in summer.
|Salt, to taste|
|8||ounces sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, strings pulled off|
|12||ounces soba noodles|
|2||tablespoons toasted sesame oil|
|4||tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and more to taste|
|4||radishes, very thinly sliced|
|4||Persian cucumbers, very thinly sliced|
|2||large carrots, grated|
|1||bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced|
|2||tablespoons tamari or soy sauce|
|1||piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated|
|1||teaspoon sriracha or other chile-garlic sauce, and more to taste|
|1||tablespoon sesame seeds|
|Extra sriracha (for serving)|
|Extra rice wine vinegar (for serving)|
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the peas and cook for 2 minutes, or until they are bright green. Scoop out with a strainer and rinse under cold water until cool; set aside.
2. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, or until they are just tender when you taste one. Tip the noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake the colander to release excess water.
3. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt.
4. Slice the peas on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces and add half to the noodles with the radishes, cucumbers, carrots, and half the scallions. Toss until thoroughly combined; refrigerate. (If making in advance, refrigerate the vegetables separately from the noodles and toss after chilling.)
5. In a small skillet over low heat, toast the sesame seeds, turning often, for 5 minutes, or until they become fragrant; cool.
6. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. With a slotted spoon, lower the eggs into the pan. Cook for 7 minutes and transfer to a bowl of very cold water. Set the bowl under a cold tap and with the back of a spoon, crack the shells. Remove a strip from each egg and leave the eggs to cool. Peel off the remaining shells and dry the eggs.
7. In a bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil, remaining 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, the tamari or soy sauce, ginger, and sriracha. Add to the noodles and toss thoroughly.
8. Halve the eggs lengthwise. Divide the noodles among 4 large bowls. Nestle the eggs into the noodles and sprinkle each bowl with the remaining sugar snaps, remaining scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve with sriracha and rice wine vinegar. Leigh Belanger