Friday, February 11, 2011

Seaweed and Noodle Salad with Salmon Teriyaki

Do you remember that list of 50 best cookbooks of all time from The Observer last August? (The top 10 are listed here.) That list was the reason I had to add Nigella’s How to Eat to my collection. I had failed to collect any of her books for the longest time, and I have no idea why that was because I always enjoy her show when I catch it on the Food Network. I did buy Nigella Christmas last year when it was marked down some ridiculous amount right after the holidays, but I didn’t have any of her earlier classics. How to Eat is what I would call a conversational cookbook. It’s written exactly as Nigella speaks, and she conveys her ideas about eating, entertaining, and planning and executing all sorts of meals. The text moves from one topic to another, and sometimes the recipes are really just written descriptions of how she puts a dish together. Mostly though, the recipes appear throughout the text in the conventional way with ingredients listed followed by instructions. It was interesting to read what types of dishes she chose for weekend Sunday lunch parties as opposed dinner parties. The lunches were chicken, pasta, cold meats, or stews, and the dinners were always three courses with seasonally appropriate roasted meats, vegetables, and dessert that usually involved fruit. There were many potato dishes, and many dishes with peas, and most of the desserts were creamy, pillowy creations. Most of the menus seemed a little heavy. Maybe it was because I had read through the book over the course of a few days rather than dipping in and out at different times, but when I arrived at the low fat chapter, it was refreshing to see some lighter fare. Or, I was just in the mood for that. As soon as I read about the noodle salad with sea vegetables and simple teriyaki sauce for fish, I had a dinner plan.

The noodle salad included both dried arame and wakame seaweed. If you’re not sure if you’ll like these, I recommend starting with arame and letting that be your gateway seaweed. It’s very mild in flavor and looks like skinny black pasta once rehydrated. Wakame is only slightly less mild, but it does taste a little more of the sea. Rehydrated, it looks like thawed, frozen, chopped spinach. Both were rehydrated in cool water and then drained. A dressing was made for the noodles with soy sauce, sake, mirin, rice vinegar, sugar, dashi, and sesame oil. I didn’t locate any dashi with no MSG, so I bought some bonito flakes and made a simple broth with a little boiling water. And, speaking of sake, I branched out in an attempt to learn more and tried an unfiltered option. The flavor was lightly floral compared to the last sake I used, and it seemed like a kinder, gentler sort of sake. Next, soba noodles were boiled, drained, rinsed, and drained again. The noodles were tossed with the dressing, the seaweeds, some sliced scallions, and I added some sliced orange bell pepper just because I had it on hand. The noodles can sit at room temperature, or they can be served cold. As they sat, I made the teriyaki sauce for the salmon from soy sauce, sake, mirin, and a pinch of sugar. The sauce was cooked in a pan just to dissolve the sugar while the fish was seared in a skillet. After searing the fish on both sides, the sauce was added and was used to baste the fish. The fish was removed so as not to overcook, and the sauce was left to thicken.

I served the noodles topped by the fish with the thickened teriyaki sauce poured over top. I knew this was going to be a good meal. For me, these flavors never disappoint. I made extra noodles, and the next day I enjoyed them cold from the refrigerator for lunch with chunks of tofu instead of salmon. Next time, I’ll probably add broccoli or greens. It’s great to learn this kind of adaptable dish that you can make a little differently each time you serve it.



20 comments:

  1. That looks marvelous! So healthy and flavorful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I absolutely love this dish! I AM a fan of soba noodles. And look how beautifully the seaweed are intertwined in the noodles. Lovely!

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  3. I love Nigella and this dish looks wonderful. Great job! Just wow'd by that last photo.

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  4. I can already imagine the taste!

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  5. I love the pictures, colors look amazing and it looks really delicious :)

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  6. I have two nigella cookbooks, and would you believe that I've never made a THING out of them! Ridiculous. I need to.

    This salmon looks delicious! I adore salmon teriyaki and this looks like a wonderful rendition of it!

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  7. I like Nigella too. But only have her Christmas cookbook. Not too sure about seaweed...would you believe I've never tried it? Well, perhaps unknowingly when I dined at Nobu. But I do love soba noodles and adore salmon. The teriyaki version is appealing.
    I saw a Two Fat Ladies show repeat a while back and one of them sliced an orange, juiced another and poached her salmon in OJ and red wine with the oranges on top. I frequently do that now, often without the wine. (Dieting. The bane of my life.)

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  8. The last photo is stunning Lisa., and the dish itself is awesome.

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  9. Wow, your dish looks incredible. Love the salad (I adore both noodles and seaweed) and the salmon looks gorgeous.

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  10. Hehe I really like her cookbooks but I confess that I don't use How To Eat very much because it hasn't got many photos. But the recipes that I have tried have been delicious! :)

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  11. This looks delicious and very healthy.

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  12. I just made salmon teriyaki this weekend and with my leftovers, your soba dish sounds wonderful. I should look in my copy of How To Eat to find the recipe! I didn't know there were Japanese recipes in there - I really should read that cookbook. :)

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  13. You have all my fave flavors here. This is one beautiful and satisfying dish.

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  14. The soba noodles look so delicious, and I think the contrast of texture and flavors of arame and wakame seaweed must work so well. I don't profess to know a lot about sake, but I know the Junmai tend to be finer and more floral. The next type of you may enjoy trying is junmai daiginjo which is my favorite class of sake. The rice grains are polished more finely, and demands more precision in the making. It's also important when buying fine sake to purchase one that has been refrigerated the entire time from distribution to retail. It makes a big difference!

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  15. I love that this dish has two different types of seaweed, and with an incredible sounding salmon. this is a dish to be savored on a lazy Sunday. I know what's on my list for next week,

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  16. I admire you for going for these ingredients that have always been way too exotic for me; but I am wanting to change this and familiarize myself with seaweed and all of that; this dish looks so refined, and I would start here.

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  17. there are so many unknown-to-me words in this post, i'm almost taken aback! i really need to broaden my culinary horizons... :)

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  18. Christine: Thank you for the sake info! I'll look for junmai daiginjo next.

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  19. I have two of her books, and love her style, even if occasionally one recipe or another fail to please me.

    I don't have How to Eat, and should probably move away from my computer as fast as I can.

    You are a dangerous influence...
    (sigh)

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