Cold noodles are wonderful. Much like watermelons, swimsuits, and ripe tomatoes, they are only meant to be enjoyed during a limited time, and lamented over the other seasons (although the jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita was a strong advocate for cold noodles served year-round at restaurants.) With the beginning of the fall, we approach the end of cold noodle season. Simultaneously, we’re at the tail end of the period when tomatoes are the most flavorful.
The gazpacho part of the gazpacho noodles follow the conventional recipe for the cold soup, except for the additions of ginger, soy sauce, and a bit of sesame oil at the end. Today it’s topped with scallions, homemade kimchi, cucumbers, and leftover roast beef. Any kind of asian noodles would do, but my favorites are sômen noodles and ramen noodles.
Sômen are Japanese wheat vermicelli, eaten cold (in a bowl of cold water to prevent sticking) with a dipping sauce made out of bonito and kelp broth with soy sauce and mirin.
This version subs out the dipping sauce with Asian gazpacho, with bread, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, stale bread (all tossed with salt and soy sauce infused with kelp and dried shitake mushrooms) and a bit of sesame oil. The infused soy sauce can be subbed with some menmi.
Toppings (usually julienned omelette, grated ginger, scallions, and myôga herb) are the best part of sômen. This one comes with minced parsley and a poached egg.
Sômen works best, but vermicelli pasta or ramen noodles will work too.
This was really good. Only about once or twice a year I hit on an original recipe that’s very simply, without a doubt, delicious. What started out as a half-assed attempt to recreate the hiyashi-ramen that I’ve been reading about turned into a wonderful dish. Proximity to the authentic hiyashi-ramen ceased to be an issue.
Boil konbu (kelp) in small amount of water for konbu stock. Add salt and dash of fish sauce. Discard konbu and chill. Combine with refrigerated mature hen stock. Make flavored oil by heating oil with dried shrimp, garlic, sesame seeds, green onions, and whatever aromatic stuff.
Boil and rinse noodles in cold water. Top with tomatoes, sliced red cabbage, cilantro, boiled egg, whatever protein you have on hand (grilled chicken, charsiu), and flavored oil.