Summer rice noodles
There are only about six things I can stand to cook in summer in a New York City apartment. Rice vermicelli fit the bill. That is, you barely need to cook them — just soak a few minutes in hot water. These days, I like to eat them room temperature, topped with grilled tofu and a mix of grilled, blanched and raw vegetables. Swapping a poached egg for the tofu is a delicious variation.
few bunches brown rice vermicelli
2 scallions, washed, with roots trimmed. Separate the green tops but do not throw away.
1 small bunch dark greens (kale, bok choy or chard), washed and chopped
shredded nori (toasted, unseasoned)
1 pound firm tofu, pressed and cut in .5 inch slices
.5 cup frozen shelled edamame
good fermented soy or tamari
1T chili sauce (such as Huy Fong brand chili garlic or sambal oelek)
.5 cup watermelon, finely diced (save juice)
1T rice vinegar
Bring salted water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Stir in vermicelli. Turn off water and let sit two or three minutes, until noodles are soft.
Use a spaghetti server to remove noodles — save cooking water. Rinse noodles under cold water in a colander and set aside.
Whisk chili sauce, rice vinegar and watermelon juice in a medium glass bowl. Mix in watermelon (adjust chili to taste). Set to chill.
Warm a cast iron skillet until quite hot. Warm olive oil. Grill tofu slices for about five minutes on each side, until well browned. Remove tofu and set on a plate lined with paper towel.
Now grill firm white lower part of scallion until well browned (flip after a few minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Now remove scallion and saute green scallion tops in same pan. After a few minutes, return scallion whites to pan and turn off.
Return sauce pan to boil and add a few drops of rice vinegar. Cook greens for a few minutes. Remove with spaghetti tool and set aide. Now cook edamame for a few minutes, until just defrosted. Use a slotted spoon to remove edamame and dump into a bowl of cold water.
Toss rice noodles with soy sauce and a little cooking water in a medium bowl until well coated. Set noodles on corner of two medium plates with a rim or a flat bowl. Top noodles with a shredded nori and edamame. Now make several piles on each plate — cooked greens, grilled scallions, tofu and watermelon in chili sauce. Serve with extra soy sauce.