Monday, February 16, 2009

Soba Noodles with Seared Tuna & Soy Mirin Dressing

Variations on a Theme.

For much of her childhood SSSal played the piano. When CrabCakes 1&2 were born there was an implicit understanding that they too would play. Unlike their mother, neither CrabCake displayed any particular keyboard talent.

In scenes familiar to many a parent, we were treated to practices and recitals where progress wasn't measured so much by beautiful music as it was by the diminution of errors. I'd never thought of "Hot Cross Buns" as a torture device before, but there it was.

Ultimately both boys rebelled. While I missed the idea of them playing music, my ears were thankful. But wait; at the ripe old age of 10, CrabCake2 told us that "he had to join the band at school". He tried the trumpet - disaster. He thought about the saxophone - too big. He picked up a flute - epiphany.

Competent within months; a
fish to water. In the last five years there has been state-wide recognition and seats in youth orchestras. What had been a grinding, miserable experience in front of 88 keys, was now seemingly effortless, beautiful music.

Variations on a theme.

So let's stay with that idea. Over the last few months two of my most popular posts have been Otsu and Cool Peanut Soba. Crab Nation it seems, loves Soba noodles. Soba has always struck me as a warm weather meal, but I'm sick of winter and so I tried to find something that would at least remind me of warmer times.

This meal is a shade expensive given the troubled times we're in, but we all need to indulge occasionally, (you could probably make this with skinless, boneless chicken breast if rare tuna isn't your thing food-wise or budget-wise), so please enjoy...

Soba Noodles with Seared Tuna & Soy Mirin Dressing
from Olive Magazine, September 2007

Serves 4

1 1/4 pounds searing grade Tuna Steaks
4 TBSP Sesame Oil, divided
Sesame seeds, approx. 4 TBSP
12 oz. Soba Noodles
1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced thin
4 scallions chopped

Mirin Dressing

6 TBSP Lemon Juice
6 TBSP Soy Sauce
8 TBSP Mirin Cooking Wine
2 TBSP Sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat.

As the pan is warming, sprinkle the sesame seeds onto a large dinner plate. Using 1 TBSP of oil, rub the tuna steaks on all sides and then roll the fish in the sesame seeds.

Add the steaks to the hot frying pan, searing the tuna for 30 seconds on all sides.

Set aside.

Prepare the soba noodles according to box instructions (typically boiling for 5 minutes). When done, drain the noodles and run under cold water. If you aren't going to use them right away, leave the noodles in a bowl of cold water for up to 1 hour. Drain the noodles completely before proceeding.

Combine all the mirin dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the remaining 3 TBSP of sesame oil. Whisk well to combine.

Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Sprinkle the cucumber and scallions atop the noodles.

Thinly slice the seared tuna and divide among the bowls. Pour the dressing over the tuna. Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and serve.

This is a very easy recipe. Better still it can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Since I like my noodles slightly soupy, I've doubled the amount of dressing. If you like yours drier, cut the dressing measurements in half.

Alright crablings, I'm done for today. Next time I think we may travel to the Middle East for inspiration. Until then, remember, you can do it, you can cook.


WineWizardBob said...

The soy mirin dressing is the object of wine matching. Ginger-soy combo is great with American Pinot Noir if you like red, Gewurztraminer from Alsace if you want your palate to go boi oi oi ing. And an Alsace Pinot Gris if you want the food to shine through and the wine be the background music to the dish. However the addition of the sugar-lemon combo gives me fits.Sooooo, I am not a Sake expert, I have tried them, I just dont get them, but this dish seems to scream for Sake. All I know is good sake is served chilled, and the lesser quality stuff is served warmed. There is an obscene mnemonic device I use to remember the quality of Sake, but I dont want the Crab to ban me.

Anonymous said...

This looks really tasty. It's always nice to have a dish that cooks up quickly.

Olga said...

oh how I love seared tuna. Your recipe looks great!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious - in our home its singing, not instruments but an equal ear bashing!!!....sorry a bit late with the photo gallery, just home from a ski trip:)

test it comm said...

That looks good! The tuna is perfectly seared. said...

Thanks everyone. Seared tuna is a love-hate thing. Some people just can't get over the raw texture. I thinks it's one of the great taste sensations out there.

Lian in Alaska said...

This recipe is the bomb! Totally made my day better after a long, crazy day at work. It was absolutely delicious so easy to prepare! Thank you! said...

Glad to be of service Lian. Come on back, there are a couple of other soba noodles recipes out on the site.