I'm a massive fan of soba noodles. Oddly enough and somewhat dreadfully embarrassingly I only discovered this when I flew Cathay Pacific Business Class last June to Tokyo...! LOL I had never tried them before, I'll be frank ~ probably because the term 'Buckwheat' never really did a lot for me in the 'exciting sounding food' dept. and therefore I avoided it like the plague. But I ADORE them now. I love them cold with wasabi, soy and edamame beans (the latter in particular I find too are amazing simply cooked up with salt and chilli and a bit of ponzu sauce). Cathay Pacific I'll add too are incredible at food in their BC section, their starters and desserts in particular were fab ~ and basically restaurant quality so if I was going to get decent soba noodles at 35,000 feet in the air it was going to be with CP on the way to Japan! Anyway, I also love beautifully cooked beef and pondered if I could come up with a recipe for a salad which included all three however I wanted the noodles to be crispy as there's nothing better than a good crispy noodle salad. I wasn't sure how the soba noodles would fare in the oil but they were fine. They do stick quite a bit to the bottom of the pot but it's easy to rectify, just give them a good nudge around the pan a second of two after they go into the hot oil and they'll come away easily.
3 tbsp EVOO
Juice of 1 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tbsp salted capers, thoroughly rinsed + very finely chopped
Small handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 long red chilli seeds removed + finely diced*
2 tbsp ponzu sauce
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp wasabi
*I find the best way to prep this marinade if to chop the parsley, chilli and capers all together on a board at the same time
YOU WILL ALSO NEED
500g eye fillet beef steak, (organic if possible)
200g soba noodles
750ml sunflower oil
450g edamame beans
2 handfuls rocket leaves
1 long red + green chilli, deseeded, very finely sliced
1 tbsp each black and white sesame seeds
2 tbsp extra Ponzu sauce
2 tbsp mirin
Half a lemon
To make the marinade for the beef, add ingredients together in a bowl and whisk. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade to a small bowl and set aside (this is to make the final salad dressing). Add the beef fillet to the marinade, cover with cling wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours or longer if you can.
To make the dressing, strain the 3 tablespoons of marinade (to remove the bits), then add 2 tablespoons ponzu and mirin. Whisk and set aside.
Half fill a large pot with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat, add a good pinch of salt along with the soba noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, then lay out over a clean tea towel. Pat the noodles dry (or at least as dry as you can).
Heat the sunflower oil in the same large pot. Add the noodles in batches, I didn't use a thermometer for this as my current one is broken but you'll know when the oil will be hot enough when you test a noodle and it bubbles up in the oil immediately.
Very carefully add the noodles in handful-sized portions, you'll probably find they stick a bit to the bottom of the pot so using a slotted spoon or pasta spoon, make sure you move them around the pot to avoid sticking. Let them fry for about 2 minutes then lift them up out of the oil for a second then add back in ~ I find doing this helps to gets the noodles really crispy. Fry until noodles are crispy and golden. Drain on paper towel and repeat with the remaining noodles. Do always take care when deep frying, always make sure the oil level is not too high in the pot.
To cook the edamame beans, add 4 cups of cold water to a large pot along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil over high heat then all all the beans in their shells, bring back to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Test one to see if they are ready ~ they should still have a little bit to them and not be mushy. While beans are cooking fill a bowl with cold water and lots of ice and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drain and pop out the beans into the bowl of iced water. Allow to stand for a few minutes then drain.
Cook the marinated beef on a hot BBQ until cooked as per your liking ~ I prefer to keep the beef in this dish on the rarer side of medium-rare. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then cut paper thin with a sharp knife.
To assemble the salad, scatter the rocket leaves on a large serving platter along with the noodles ~ which you need to crunch up to break into small pieces (makes for much easier eating!) then the edamame beans, sliced meat and finally a good sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds and last but not least, the red and green chilli. Drizzle liberally with the pre-prepared dressing and serve.