Ahhh, Sunday dinner.  If you are as lucky as my husband and I, you get to go over to your parents’ house for Sunday dinner.  As soon as Friday comes along, I am already thinking, “I wonder what Peter is planning make?”  It starts with wine and cheese, followed by a stunning main, dessert of pie or bavarois and finished with tea and chocolates.  We appreciate the food, the night off and of course the good company.  Last weekend the dinner was coming to an end and we came to the conclusion that Peter was going to be really busy this weekend.  Out of the goodness of my heart I said, “Why don’t you come to our house for dinner nest Sunday?”  My mind instantly started reeling.  What would I make for this gourmet chef!  Ok, he’s not a chef , but he’s from Europe and you know that they just have a je ne sais quoi  when it comes to cooking.  Maybe it’s the herbs or maybe it’s the attention to detail.  Either way, it’s gourmet. 

Back to my dilemma – what should I cook?  First, I have to impress my husband’s parent and second, I just started this blog which has somehow given me major cred in the kitchen.  Pressure!  This brings me to my obsession with the Food Network.  Come on, you know that I know that you love the Food Network too.  Well, I keep a piece of paper beside the couch for when I need to frantically jot down a recipe I just watched.  This is the just that recipe.  Thanks to Roger Mooking, I had the perfect recipe hand written on a scrap of paper crammed into my recipe pile.  This recipe caught my eye because of the soba noodles.  I’ve travelled to Japan, specifically Nagano, Japan and the specialty food of the region is soba noodles.  Therefore this soba noodle salad was a sure-fire try and the nori crusted salmon sounded good too.  Well, let me tell you, this recipe is a show stopper.  Be ready for lots of little steps, but the finish is well worth it.  The noodles are exquisitely flavourful and the crust on the salmon is salty, crispy and spicy. It is a true delight!

 Soba Noodle Salad – Roger Mooking with some adaptations

Sometimes Soba noodles can be expensive.  If you live in Calgary, check out the Planet Organic where you can find Soba noodles in a light blue box for a cheaper price.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 Pound shitake mushroom caps, sliced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 carrot, julienned

2 cups sugar snap peas, blanched and thinly sliced on a bias

1 bunch garlic chives (or green onion), cut into 1 inch pieces on a bias

the vinaigrette (below)

230 g box or enough for 4 people soba noodles

1 nori sheet, cut into 1 inch pieces, for garnish

some extra sesame seeds, for garnish

salt and pepper

Vinaigrette

1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Noodle Salad

Start by sautéing the mushrooms in the oil seasoned with salt until they are cooked down and brown, about 7 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies with the garlic and ginger and sauté until they turn bright.  Add 3 tbsp of the vinaigrette and remove from heat.   While sautéing the veggies, boil the soba noodles according to the package.  When ready, drain and then spread out on a baking sheet.  Spoon the rest of the vinaigrette over and stir with chopstick (that’s the easiest to use – trust me).  Let the noodles suck up all that great flavour for 5-10 minutes.  Then toss with the noodles.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cut nori.

Nori Crusted Salmon – Roger Mooking with some adaptations

2 nori sheets, toasted

1 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot or 1/4 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Thai chili, sliced or sriracha hot sauce to taste (I put in 10 small drops)

salt

 4 pieces of salmon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Begin by toasting the nori sheets.  Using tongs, hold the nori sheet over the hot element.  Be sure not to touch the nori to the element.  The sheet will crinkle and become very crusty. 

Set aside while you combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Take the toasted nori in hand and crush into small pieces and add to the bowl.  Melt the butter in a small pan and add the shallot or onion and garlic.  When the onions are clear add the dry ingredients.  Stir and let toast for 2 minutes and remove from heat.  In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp veg oil.  Salt both sides of the salmon and then sear it, skin side up and then skin side down, both sides for a couple minutes.  Finally, place the seared salmon on a baking dish and cover with the nori crust.  Bake for about 7 minutes or until cooked through.  You are done!

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