A Summer Smoked Salmon and Soba Salad

As it gets warmer in the desert, we start thinking of meals that are chilled or, at the very least, room temperature.

When the mercury hits 100°f (38°C), even I don't feel like cranking up the stove.

I must admit, though, that on the weekend, I have been known to crank the solar-powered air-conditioning so that I can cook some good, old-fashioned comfort food in, well, comfort!

When the weather is hot, I like to make part of our dinner in the morning before work when it's coolest to avoid heating up the kitchen when we’ll be spending time at home in the evening.

We have a very open house. The kitchen is open into the dining and living areas, and the heat from the stove and oven travels fast.

I love having the open floor plan; it makes for very comfortable and effortless entertaining. I never actually have to leave the party when I go to the kitchen to finish up. But I don’t want to make everyone hot when cooking on a summer night.

Today's recipe is a perfect summer entertaining recipe adapted from Noodles, a cookbook I posted about a couple of months ago. It was a gift from my friends Philip and Patricia, and has been a wonderful addition to my library.

I say this recipe is perfect because I made the entire thing in the morning, and was able to get home, put out some light hors d'œuvres (some terrific seaweed products from SeaSnax) and take time to enjoy our guests for the evening. I finished the meal with a mango and avocado salad dressed with honey and lime, followed by a wonderful ginger-coconut ice cream, which I also made in advance. (Recipe coming soon!)

Just because the weather is hot, it doesn't mean that I don't want to cook or entertain. But it does mean that I approach it differently.

Roll on summer!

~ David

Smoked Salmon and Soba Noodle Salad
Adapted from NOODLES by Vicky Liley

1/4 cup lime juice

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin
1 English cucumber, or 4 Persian cucumbers
6 scallions, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces soba noodles
8 ounces smoked salmon, flaked
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
lime wedges for serving

Combine the lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, and mirin on a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.

Peel the cucumber and discard skins. Using the peeler, make lengthwise peels while turning the cucumber, in effect, making wide cucumber noodles. When you get to the seeds, stop peeling. Discard the seeds, and set cucumber noodles aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt lightly.

Blanch the scallions for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from water with a mesh strainer and set aside to cool.

Cook noodles as directed on the package in the same water. Drain and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine cooled noodles, reserved cucumber noodles, blanched scallions. flaked salmon, and cilantro leaves. Add dressing and toss gently.

Divide among 4 chilled plates, and serve with lime wedges. 


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