spicy broccoli soba noodle salad with peanut dressing


Broccoli, broccoli oh broccoli. You are a vegetable with not much use in my home. For that I am sorry. I am not entirely at fault. I do blame my boyfriend for uttering not so friendly phrases your way, polluting my mind. Making me recall memories of grainy green soup with lumps and water filled overcooked florets to go along with my sausage consistency-like carrots.

Luckily I have since realized you are so much more. You are controllable in texture giving me both a bit of crunch and tenderness. You are cheap and easy to handle. You are versatile. But there is something to you, that makes you far superior to other vegetables – you are a vessel for flavor beyond comparison. Spices and sauces will nestle in your thousands of buds making every bite a little explosion of flavor. And cooked like the recipes below even my ill-word spewing boyfriend kind of accepts you.
As for me – I kind of love you, Broccoli!


SPICY BROCCOLI SOBA NOODLE SALAD

250 g soba noodles

Peanut dressing:
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
Juice of 2 small limes
2 tbsp soy
1 tsp honey
Sriracha to taste

Spicy broccoli:
2 tbsp sesame oil
Pinch of chili flakes (hot!)
1 head of broccoli
A 2-3 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp soy
1/3 cup water

3 spring onions, thinly sliced
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
A handful of toasted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

  • Start by cooking the soba noodles according to the package. When cooked, drain and transfer to a bowl with icy ice water. They can stay here while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Next, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and adjust to taste. Set aside.
  • For the broccoli, prep first: cut the broccoli into small florets, grate the garlic and ginger.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot add the chili flakes (to your liking) and stir fry for about 20 seconds. It should sizzle. Add in the broccoli florets and keeping the heat high, stir occasionally. About 2 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir very quickly. About 10-20 seconds. It will stick to the bottom that’s okay (just don’t let it burn), it will loosen in the next step.
  • Add in the soy and water and cook, still on high heat, until almost evaporated. This should take about 2-4 minutes. Check for ‘doneness’ – the broccoli should be tender, but crunchy still. Remove from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • To assemble toss the (now drained) soba noodles with the broccoli, spring onions and coriander. Serve in bowls and spoon over the dressing and top with toasted peanuts.

Abundance bowl with crunchy greens, smoked salmon + two dressings

As a child, my favorite thing at the dinner table was the accompanying salad bowl, which were made in abundance to make up for the fact that when everyone else was done, I still was not satisfied. So I would often end up sitting at the table stuffing my face with crunchy greens and a potent dressing, while my mother would clean out the table – life sort of had to move on – and I would try to talk with her through my teeth, secretly wondering whether I could somehow get more.

Although the salads of my childhood home consisted of 4-5 ingredients I have never lost my appetite to eat more – only now I am the one making it, and I am pairing ingredients beyond the usual suspects. I have called this dish an abundance bowl, it is, but to be blunt it is just a really packed salad, that is every bit as good as the the fancy wording.

This salad features crunchy carrots and cucumber, juicy and bitter grape, aromatic herbs, pickled ginger and spiced pumpkinseeds. As if that is not enough I made two dressings, because as you (should) know, salads are one of the best excuses to indulge in the savory liquid gold.


ABUNDANCE BOWL WITH CRUNCHY GREENS, SMOKED SALMON + TWO DRESSINGS
Makes 2 servings

Sesame-Miso Dressing:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoon umebohsi paste*
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon miso paste (any will do)
1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon water
* Omit the umeboshi paste if you have difficulties finding it, and instead add a bit more rice vinegar and perhaps a bit more miso.

Lemony tamari dressing:
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons tamari

Spiced pumpkin seeds:
1 teaspoon oil
A large handful of pumpkin seeds
Chili powder (I used a kimchi chili mix)

For the salad:
1 large head of romaine lettuce
A bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
A bunch of mint, roughly chopped
3 small carrots, cut into sticks
½ cucumber, cut into sticks
1 grape, peeled and chopped
4 ounces of smoked salmon
Pickled ginger (I used these)
Sesame-Miso dressing (see above)
Lemony tamari dressing (see above)
Sprouts
Spiced pumpkin seeds (see above)

DIRECTIONS

Start by making the lemony tamari dressing:

  • In a small saucepan heat the sesame oil over medium heat, and add in the onion and garlic at the same time. Fry for a couple of minutes until the oil sizzles and the onion/garlic mixture starts becoming translucent
  • Add in the lemon, honey and tamari, stir and turn off the heat
  • Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely while you prepare your other ingredients

Then make the sesame-miso dressing:

  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the sesame seeds to toast until light brown and they start to pop. You should keep an eye on this process and stir the pan every so often. About 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer the sesame seeds (and save the pan for the pumpkin seeds) to a mortar and grind them until they become a dry paste – alternatively use a small food processor.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients, adding more water to thin is necessary (I like mine to be a bit on the thin side) 

Spiced pumpkin-seeds:

  • Over medium-high heat and in the same pan you toasted the sesame seeds, add 1 teaspoon of oil and the pumpkin seeds
  • Let toast for a few minutes, until they make popping noises, then add in the chili powder, stirring and turn off the heat.

Assembling of the salad:
Divide every ingredient between two big plates

  • Tear and add the romaine lettuce as a base
  • Sprinkle with a layer of chopped herbs
  • Add  the carrots,cucumber and grape
  • Then add the salmon and top with a tablespoon of sesame-miso dressing, pickled ginger and add the sprouts on top
  • Drizzle the salad with the lemony tamari dressing and sprinkle with the spiced pumpkin seeds.