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Cold Soba Noodles with Green Onions and Baby Vegetables

The Japanese are especially fond of cold noodle dishes such as this one. Served as a quick lunch, it's a great way to beat the summertime heat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. dried soba noodles
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or canned broth
  • 4 ears of baby corn, husks and silks removed
     and halved lengthwise, or 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 8 baby zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 oz. konbu, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. sweet cooking sake such as mirin,
     or 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 green onions, including tender green portions,
     thinly sliced
  • 1 sheet nori

Directions:

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold running water. Drain again, cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

In a saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the corn and blanch for 1 minute. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and immerse immediately in ice water to stop the cooking. Scoop out of the ice water and set aside. Repeat with the zucchini and carrot. Refrigerate the vegetables separately for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, remove the broth from the heat and add the konbu, soy sauce and cooking sake. Let stand for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

To serve, ladle the chilled broth mixture into individual bowls, dividing it evenly. Add the soba noodles to the bowls, again dividing evenly, and garnish with the corn, zucchini, carrot and green onions.

Using tongs, pass the nori over an open flame, turning each side toward the flame 2 or 3 times until toasted. Cut into thin strips or crumble, then sprinkle over the noodles. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Vegetarian for All Seasons, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Time-Life Books, 1998).