I'm going to write this recipe the way I made it. In preparation for the aforementioned camping trip. Meaning, I made as many of the components ahead of time as possible. I cooked the noodles the day before, and made the dressing the day prior as well. The only thing we actually cooked onsite was the tofu, which was grilled on this camping stove (which is pretty great). And as I'm sure you can imagine, even if camping isn't your thing, pre-cook the tofu ahead of time as well, and you'll have a nice work week lunch.
12 ounces / 340g dried soba noodles
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for the tofu
16 oz / 450g extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry
3 medium cloves garlic
scant 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 small/medium shallots
3 small serrano peppers, minced
1 bunch (about 4 handfuls) of cilantro, stems trimmed
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup / 180 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, then cook the soba noodles per package instructions, being mindful to not overcook them. Drain, run under cold water for a minute, shake of as much extra water as possible, then toss well with the olive oil. Gently work the olive oil through the noodles. Place the soba in a large plastic bag and refrigerate overnight, or until you're ready to use them - up to a few days.
Make the dressing using a mortar and pestle OR a food processor. I used the m&p which takes a while (and provides quite the arm workout), but I prefer the end result. Pound the garlic and salt into a paste, then work in the shallots one at a time, then the peppers. Then the cilantro a handful at a time. The mixture should be quite smooth. Add the sugar, then the lime juice before stirring in the olive oil a bit at a time. Taste and adjust the flavors if need be - more salt, sugar, lime juice, etc. using the processor? Just blend it all together, then tweak the flavors a bit if needed.
Cut the tofu into slabs (see photo), rub gently with olive oil and place on a medium-hot grill. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip, and grill the other side as well.
To assemble, toss the soba noodles with a good amount of the dressing, reserving enough to drizzle generously on top of the tofu. Place the tofu on top of the noodles, and drizzle with more dressing.
Serves 4 - 6.
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