Vegan Spring Soba Noodle Salad

I’ve mentioned this before, but often I will buy something at the farmer’s market without having a clear idea of what I plan to do with it. Such was the case a few weekends ago, when I bought some fiddlehead ferns. They’re slightly expensive, but they’re delicious and only available for a very short time, so I went ahead and bought them. I also bought a variety of radishes — green, purple, and white. I thought maybe I’d make a salad with them, or maybe pickle them. I also bought some spring garlic and some fresh microgreens.

The next day I realized I could make a dish using a little bit of each. A cold soba noodle salad seemed like the perfect vehicle to bring everything together. I started in the morning by shredding the purple radish, then tossing it with sugar, salt, and rice wine vinegar. I left that in a closed container in the fridge to pickle for most of the day. When it came time to make dinner I rinsed the fiddleheads and then blanched them in salted water. While they drained and cooled I started cooking the soba noodles (made from buckwheat flower). I made a quick vinaigrette with a little chili paste, minced spring garlic, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, and a little canola oil. I rinsed the cooked noodles under cold water to cool them down, then tossed them with the fiddleheads and the vinaigrette. Then I topped the noodles with some of the pickled radish, and topped that with some of the microgreens.

It was a great mix of textures and flavors — the chewy, nutty noodles, the slightly crunchy and vegetal ferns, the bright bitter flavors of the microgreens, and the crisp, sharp tang of the pickled radish. It was a great meal for a late spring night.

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