Ice-cold somen noodles are a traditional hot-weather Japanese dish. Usually they are served with a dipping sauce on the side. Grab some noodles with your chopsticks, dip, and eat. Delicious, but messy. I love eating cold somen noodles, but I usually end up with little drops of sauce splattered all over my shirt!
So here is a nice alternative. Cold somen noodles get topped with a generous ladle of chilled sauce, fresh vegetables, pickled ginger, and a piece of marinated, grilled salmon.
You’ll need a few specialty ingredients to make this recipe. Mirin, low-sodium soy sauce, pickled ginger, and somen noodles should all be available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. I also use dashi powder. It’s the cheater’s way to make dashi, which is a mild Japanese fish broth. Dashi powder can be found at Japanese grocery stores but may be hard to find elsewhere. The packets seem to last forever, so if you run across dashi powder, buy a box. It will come in handy every once in a while.
To make this one-dish meal, you’ll need to make the sauce and marinate the salmon about two hours before you plan to eat. The rest of the meal comes together pretty quickly. Prep the vegetables while the grill is heating up and cook the noodles while the fish is on the grill. Assemble everything just before serving and enjoy a beautiful Japanese-inspired summer dinner.
Chilled Somen Noodles with Grilled Salmon
FOR THE SALMON
- 1 lb. wild Alaskan salmon fillet, skin-on
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1-2 tsp. dashi powder
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 tsp. sugar
FOR THE NOODLES
- 12 oz. somen noodles
- 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved, sliced
- 1 cup snow peas, sliced on the diagonal
- 4 small green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pickled ginger, chopped
PREPARE THE SALMON:
- In a medium sauce pan, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup mirin, 2 Tbsp. ginger and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Bring to a boil then immediately remove from heat. Cool marinade to room temperature.
- Remove the pin bones from the salmon if desired.
- Cut the fillet into four individual pieces, leaving the skin on.
- Place the salmon in a shallow pan and cover with the cooled marinade. Refrigerate for two hours.
PREPARE THE SAUCE:
- In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 and 1/2 cups water, 1 to 2 tsp. dashi powder (depending on your taste), 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce. 1/4 cup mirin, and 1 tsp. sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to chill.
GRILL THE SALMON:
- Heat coals or a gas grill to medium high. Cook the salmon, skin side down, until it is done to your likeness. (To get grill marks, you’ll need to flip the salmon skin side up).
COOK THE NOODLES:
- While the grill is heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the salmon is on the grill, add the somen noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes until they are tender. Rinse very well in cold water. Drain, but leave the noodles a little wet so they don’t dry out and stick together.
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD:
- Toss the vegetables and pickled ginger together in a small bowl with a splash of sauce.
- Divide the noodles evenly among 4 bowls. Ladle sauce over each. Top with vegetables and a piece of grilled salmon, skin removed.