As the temperature heats up here in Barcelona, draining our energy and pushing dinner time ever later into the night, we are on an active search for cool, refreshing dishes which can be whipped up in a matter of minutes to avoid turning on the oven and slaving in a hot kitchen. Soba noodles fit the bill perfectly. While soba noodles can be prepared both hot and cold, I most often use them mixed with whatever vegetables I have on hand and tossed in a light dressing to make a refreshing cold salad. Soba has a delicate nutty flavour so in order to get the full experience, it’s important to not overload the noodles with too much dressing and mask their lovely flavour. Simple is always better.
Texture is also important with these noodles, and for that the Japanese technique is to wash the noodles vigorously in cold water by rubbing them together until the water runs clear in order to remove the excess starch and prevent a sticky, gloopy mess of noodles. I have to say that I consider soba to be an acquired taste. I wasn’t really sold on them the first few times that I tried them. However, their simplicity and versatility enticed me to try them again and again and I am now a happy soba convert. This dish of soba noodles with shiitake mushrooms is one of the simplest I have made and is great as a light meal or as a side dish to something a little heartier. http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetariannoodles/r/Vegetarian-Soba-Noodles.htm