If you look closely (or like, at all), you’ll notice that the noodles in these salads are definitely NOT soba. One is vermicelli (fine, gotta cater for my legit celiac friend Laurel) and one is Udon. NOT FINE. Udon noodles are great in soups or stir fries because they’re substantial and salty – not at all right for ‘delicate’ (as close as I ever get anyway) salads.
But when you’re rushing around the supermarket trying to get ready to feed 20 people, it’s very easy to pick up the wrong packet – and then what was I gonna do, walk back to the shops? In the middle of the day in summer? Nah. But please don’t make the same mistakes as me. For the love of god get the soba.
You could also definitely make your own sesame sauce (I’ve made one before with mirin, light soy, a little sugar and tahini that was pretty good) but the ready-made stuff is generally a much better consistency. It’d be worth going to a Japanese grocer to get the real deal (Genki Mart in Alderly is terrific if you’re in Brisbane) but the Kewpie brand one is available in most supermarkets.
Serves 12 + as a side
2 packets soba noodles
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 packet tomato medley (if the multi-coloured tomatoes aren't in season regular cherry tomatoes are fine)
Sesame-soy sauce (see above)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Couple of handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
thumb-sized peices of ginger
500g raw salmon fillets (should be about 2 - 3 fillets)
Wrap the salmon fillets individually in baking paper with the ginger, a splash of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of butter for each fillet. Cook at 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked. Leave to cool.
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
Cut the carrots into matchstick-sized 'julienne' pieces (you can grate them if you want, though it tastes different). Slice the cucumber in 1-2cm slices, then cut them in half into semi-circles. Cut the tomatoes in half (or smaller if you're using big tomatoes.
Mix the cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, lettuce, shallots, soba, sesame seeds, and the sesame dressing of your choice together. Flake the cooked salmon over the top and serve.