I should’ve posted this when the weather was bonkers-hot and the idea of cooking *anything* was repellent but I think we all know I am not that organised. It’s still a perfect noodle salad for summer and the effort is minimal, so hear me out. Soba noodles take but two minutes in boiling water and I’ll let you into a secret – hardly military base level stuff this – I often use those ready-cooked salmon fillets from the supermarket. I know. This is where someone jumps in to tell me they’re cooked in arsenic steam or vapours of Piers Morgan. Chop chop now, head right down to the comments before the urge gets cold.
They’re really handy for a working lunch because you just flake them into whatever you’ve made and it feels pretty luxurious. You didn’t even look at a steamer basket! No burns for you. Pretty much any vegetables will work here, but I like to use a combo of avocado and cucumber if it’s really hot because: no cook. I’ve also enjoyed those little baby courgettes that are around now though — sliced thickly, they take just a minute to soften to optimum level and you can cook a handful of edamame or peas at the same time (just lob them in with the noodles for the last minute of cooking and save water like a hero).
The real superpower here though is the furikake. What is this word? It is the name of a Japanese seasoning consisting of seaweed, bonito flakes, sesame and other savoury bits and bobs, to be sprinkled on top of rice and other cooked foods – i.e. you use it as a finishing seasoning, rather than add it as an ingredient during cooking. Like most seasonings, it adds umami and the seaweed here ties in very well with the fish, as you can imagine. It’s great on loads of things including rice, eggs, tofu, soup, noodles or spaghetti. Go wild*. There are lots of varieties of furikake, and this is one we made with bits that were hanging about. The Japanese do these seasoning mixtures so well. See also: shichimi tōgarashi.
Anyway, this is a bold salad that’s cooling, delicious and takes barely any effort to make once you’ve got your furikake together which, to be honest, is an investment for the future anyway. What more do you want?
Cold Soba Noodles with Avocado, Salmon and Furikake Recipe
This makes a substantial, dinner-sized salad for 2 greedy people. If you’re making it for a lighter meal I’d suggest reducing the noodles to 150g and adding 1 salmon fillet.
For the furikake (scale up as needed)
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon blitzed up seaweed, such as nori
Large pinch salt
Large pinch dried red chilli flakes
Large pinch bonito flakes (or ground dried shrimps or anchovies)
For the salad
1 or 2 cooked salmon fillets
200g soba noodles
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1/4 cucumber, quartered and sliced
A handful of frozen edamame beans
A handful of mint leaves
A handful of coriander leaves
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Make the furikake by mixing all the ingredients together and storing in an airtight container.
Cook the soba noodles for 1 minute in boiling water then add the edamame and bring back to the boil. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Add the sesame oil and mix through the noodles (easiest with your hands).
Combine the noodles and edamame with the avocado, cucumber, herbs, soy, vinegar and a good pinch of chilli flakes to taste. Mix well and serve sprinkled with furikake.