Chilled Somen with Mushrooms

Chilled Somen with Mushrooms
Last month I made hoshi shiitake no umani (simmered dried shiitake), used only half the recipe, and put the other half into the freezer where they would have languished had it not been for Ella’s challenge to “clean-up, save $, and have fun.” The recipes I’ve posted for the last couple of weeks have been made with food from my pantry and freezer. I found a flank steak in the freezer, so searched for a Japanese recipe I haven’t tried yet.  I found one in a book I’ve had for 25 years (but barely used), and began to think about what to serve with it. As I was flipping randomly to other recipes in her book, I saw today’s recipe in the “rice and noodles” chapter, using dried shiitake! The recipe has a dressing with vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar, as well as dried shiitake reconstituted in a way very similar to my mushroom freezer stash! The sunny weather already had me thinking about the wonderful summertime noodles we ate last summer. It’s not warm yet, but the season is changing!

Chilled Somen with Mushrooms

Note on the challenge not to shop: I went out this morning to run errands, and stopped at the grocery to buy some fresh vegetables. It’s been two weeks after all!! My Chinese cabbage is still ok, the green onions from the Korean grocery are a little sad, but still quite edible (a surprise! They must have been really fresh when I bought them, or maybe they are miraculous and not subject to corruption??) I bought some lettuce, some sweet peppers, enoki mushrooms (on sale), carrots, “grape tomatoes” (on sale) and asparagus (on sale).  Forgot the cucumbers.
Because I used already prepared mushrooms, I just made a little extra sauce, and below is the recipe as printed in Ms. Green’s book.
Chilled Noodles with Cucumbers and Mushrooms
Japanese Cooking for the American Table, by Karen Green

Chilled Somen with Mushroomspage 138
4 to 6 servings
Summer Salad Dressing
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup beef broth (or dashi)
2 Tablespoons sugar

4 large shiitake, soaked for several hours, drained, and sliced
1/4 cup beef broth (or dashi)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 pound soba or somen, cooked, drained, rinsed, and chilled
2 large cucumbers
salt
2 scallions, chopped
To make the salad dressing: Combine the vinegar, oil, soy sauce, 1/4 cup broth, and sugar in a sauce-pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, cool and chill.
Place sliced mushrooms in a saucepan with the remaining broth, soy sauce, and sugar. Heat the liquid, stirring for 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set aside. Add this liquid to the chilled dressing.
Heap noodles in a large serving bowl and refrigerate.
Peel cucumbers. Slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Lightly sprinkle with salt and let drain for a few minutes on paper towels. Rinse and pat dry. Cut into 3″ lengths, then slice into matchstick sized julienne.
Arrange cucumbers and mushrooms attractively on top of noodles. Pour sauce over vegetables and noodles. Garnish with scallions.

Chilled Somen with Mushrooms

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