Every time I get a new issue of one of the (too) many food magazines I subscribe to in the mail, I immediately flip through it and dog-ear the pages with all the recipes I want to make. I never end up making everything I flag, but I turn back to the recipes often and eventually get to some of them. Sometimes I follow the recipes exactly, and other times I use them for inspiration.
I made skirt steak tacos with a mango guacamole inspired by the Smoked-Chile-and-Mango Guacamole in the May issue of Food & Wine (I still need to make the Silky Tortilla Soup in that issue). I made a fabulous punch by swapping out brandy for rum in the Strawberry-Ginger Punch in the June issue of Bon Appetit. And most recently my friend and I whipped up the Soba Noodle Salad with Pesto and Grilled Eggplant from the July issue of Food & Wine.
After making Yotam Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango from Plenty, I became completely enamored with soba noodles and eggplant, so I was immediately attracted to this recipe. Along with soba noodles and grilled eggplant, it incorporates lots of pesto, crunchy radishes, sweet tomatoes, and crisp cucumber. Wanting to use what we had on hand, we added some green beans from my friend's garden (all the basil came from her garden as well) and replaced the mint with Thai basil from my garden. We couldn't find Asian eggplant so we used striped baby eggplant, and we went with grape instead of cherry tomatoes.
Soba Noodle Salad with Pesto and Grilled Eggplant
(adapted from Food & Wine)
This soba noodle salad is flavored with pesto and chock-full of grilled
eggplant, tomatoes, radishes, and cucumber.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
2 small eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and cooled
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
8 ounces soba noodles
10 green beans
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
6 radishes, stemmed and cut in thin wedges
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
1/4 to 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with salt. Grill until softened and charred. Transfer to cutting board and quarter each round.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Pulse basil, pine nuts, and garlic in food processor until finely chopped. With machine running, slowly pour in oil and then soy sauce. Season with salt to taste.
Cook soba noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, drop in green beans. Drain soba noodles and green beans and run under cold water, rinsing well, until cool. Drain well and transfer to large bowl. Toss with pesto.
Stir in eggplant, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, and half of Thai basil.
Transfer to bowls, garnish with remaining Thai basil, and serve.
We poured ourselves some rosé and dug into this intensely flavorful and filling summer meal. We were so impressed with the fresh taste and array of textures. The original recipe says it serves 10, but we think four is a better estimate, unless we just ate extra servings because it was that good.
Do you like soba noodles? How do you prepare them?