When it starts to warm up, I find myself craving some soba noodles. Alright...who am I kidding? I crave all kinds of foods that I like to eat in one big constant loop! I'm not the only one who's always thinking about food and, therefore, craving something all the time, right?
In the old days, it was rice noodles for me. Nowadays, I enjoy more variety and there's usually a pack of dry soba noodles hanging out in the pantry. I always feel the need to have my favorite things on hand, like there might be some worldwide shortage the minute I need it, and I just won't be able to find it anywhere!
Anyway...when I think soba noodles, I automatically think asian flavors - soy, rice vinegar, sesame oil and seeds. To satisfy this particular round of soba noodle craving, I decided to make use of the miso I had in the fridge.
When I saw some good-looking eggplant at the market, I thought of that great America's Test Kitchen technique I learned and have been relying on to roast eggplant with soy sauce. The idea came together. I'd roast some eggplant with soy sauce, cook some soba noodles, and toss it altogether with a simple miso-based dressing.
And that's just what I did to satisfy my soba noodle craving. The eggplant makes the dish satisfying, with its meatiness and that umami flavor. I'd thought about adding some shiitake mushrooms but skipped it since I didn't feel like dirtying another pan and having to cook the mushrooms separately. I thought I'd miss it but I really didn't; the eggplant alone adds plenty of flavor and substance. The miso dressing/sauce is just one where I whisked some miso with a little warm water. I added some soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and it's just a simple, light, and a relatively mild coating of sauce for the soba.
I didn't work with a precise recipe for this dish. I just knew I wanted to start with miso (I use Trader Joe's "mild yellow" miso paste but a white or awase miso paste would be fine) as the base and build from there. It's a basis to run with and to adjust to your own liking. The roasted eggplant provides a lot of flavor and substance to this dish. If I didn't have that, I'd amp up the amount of miso and seasoning in the dressing.
Happy Memorial Day weekend! We have some leisurely plans on our end that include striking up the grill a couple of times and eating our fair share of ice cream. Hope you'll be doing some of the same!
Soba noodles and Roasted Eggplant in Miso Dressing
Roasted eggplant method from America's Test Kitchen
- For 2 servings -
4 ounces soba noodles
2 tablespoons miso (I used Trader Joe's mild yellow miso paste but a white or awase paste would work)
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 rounded (generous) cup roasted eggplant: recipe here
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Using a colander, rinse the noodles thoroughly under cold running water, rubbing them gently with your hands to get rid of the slimy texture. Drain well.
In a large bowl, whisk the miso and water together. Whisk in the soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Add the noodles and toss it with the dressing to combine. Next, add the eggplant, sesame seeds, scallions, and gently mix together. Taste, adjusting seasoning, if necessary, before serving.