Easy Seared Tuna with Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Remembering taking off one afternoon from the restaurant kitchen back to escape the heat from the polluted hot Shanghai summer afternoon, chilling down with slurp of this cold soba salad, loving the calmness of it all. A light, clean, healthy bowl of soba noodles topped with grilled tuna is the perfect summer dish, quick to do and easy to digest. I first made this easy soba salad almost 8 years ago. It was Sharon who emailed me this recipe by Nigella Lawson with an big exclamation mark on the subject line. Try this! Suggesting me to built this salad into the restaurant menu. Lunching with Sharon the other day at marmalade pantry, she faithfully ordered the teriyaki salmon with soba salad. I see why she's in love with it. 

There is something about this salad, the zen of it, the subtle taste of green tea with light earthy notes of soy sauce, sour plum balancing the sweet honey with nutty bursting crunch of nutty sesame seed. It surprise me that something so easy and quick to make, tossing in a few basic sauces and ingredients could turn out so delicious. A few quick turns of tuna steaks over hot flame caramelising the miso mirin marinate to a crust. A perfect match with the cold soba noodles.

Cold Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds
(Adapted from Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer)
Ingredients for soba salad
1/3 cup sesame seeds
8 ounces soba noodles
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
5 scallions
1 pickled sour plum (mushed and seeded)

1 medium cucumber julienne (seed discarded)

Miso Marinate
(Agnes suggested I should try marinating my fish with red miso and mirin. She being her, always have a compelling flare of coming up with simple creative beautiful things)

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoon red miso
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon mirin
- This is not absolutely necessary but I prefer to marinate tuna steaks overnight or for a good few hours.

Toasted the sesame 
seeds in a dry skillet over a high heat until they look golden brown, releasing its fragrance, tip them into a bowl.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add some salt. Put in the soba noodles and cook them for about 6 minutes (or according to package instructions) until they are tender but not mushy. Have a bowl of iced water waiting to plunge them into after draining.

In the bowl you are going to serve them in, mix the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sour plum and oil. Then finely slice the scallions, cucumber and put them into the bowl with the cooled drained noodles and mix together thoroughly before adding the sesame seeds and tossing again.

Leave the soba noodles for about half an hour to let the flavors develop, I popped mine into the freezer to quick chill the noodles while grilling the tuna steaks.

On a smoking hot skillet or pan, add oil and quickly sear the tuna steaks. About a minute on each side. Remove and rest for a few minutes then thinly slice.

Top the tuna slices over the salad and garnish with more sesame seed and scallions.

Serves 2 when eaten, gratifyingly, as they are.

- til next post, SS

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