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Otsu

Wonderful warm or cold, this is a very flexible dish that's great for picnics or potlucks.

Ingredients

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ginger, cut into a 1" cube, peeled, and grated
  • 1 tbsp honey (or agave)
  • ¾ tsp cayenne
  • ¾ tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ c unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
  • 1/3 c shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 12 oz dried soba noodles
  • 12 oz extra-firm nigari tofu
  • ¼ c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • ¼ c toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

  2. Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

  3. While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½" thick and 1" long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ C cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about 2/3 C of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

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