Samurai Samphire Noodles with Miso Marinated Tofu
We were walking along the North Cornish coast path last weekend when CT spotted a massive patch of rock samphire. We didn’t want to be greedy, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so we picked enough to make a meal out of. This dish of samphire noodles with marinated tofu was the result.
Rock samphire (Crithmum maritima) is not to be confused with marsh samphire (Salicornia europaea), although they are generally interchangeable in recipes. Both are edible, but rock samphire is less salty and has a superior flavour. Marsh samphire is more widely available and is the one you are most likely to be able to buy. When foraging for samphire, from now until mid summer is the best time to gather it for optimum tenderness and flavour.
When I thought about cooking our foraged samphire, I had spaghetti in mind as I thought the green swirls would tie in well with sinuous pasta strands. When it came down to it, however, I didn’t have any spaghetti in the house. Fortuitously, I did have some soba noodles; these were a game changer and I came up with this wonderful dish of samphire noodles with marinated tofu. Once I knew I was using soba noodles, I went down the Japanese route adding miso, seaweed, sesame oil, mirin, tamari and tofu. Japan is an island archipelago just like Britain and they are both great for seafood. Unlike Britain, they have a long and honourable tradition of vegetarian cuisine with sea vegetables featuring prominently. I reckon this would give a hard working samuri warrior the necessary fire in the belly to go storm a castle and lop off a head or two.
The samphire noodles were not only super quick to put together, but they were, oh, so good. Vegan and gluten free if you use pure buckwheat soba noodles, it makes for a pretty inclusive meal too. We were both very taken by the salty aromatic piquancy of the samphire, which CT assured me would not have been out of place on a Japanese dinner plate. We broke out a new set of Japanese chopsticks to mark the occasion. Itadakimasu.
- A large bunch of samphire leaves or about 400g - well washed.
- 200g soba noodles (make sure they are pure buckwheat if gluten free is required)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 350g firm tofu - cut into 2cm cubes (I used mori-nu silken)
- ½ lemon - juice and zest
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce of choice)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp nori seaweed flakes
- 1 garlic clove - finely chopped
- Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and carefully stir in the tofu cubes until all are covered. Leave for at least five minutes, but the longer the better.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tofu over a medium heat for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Add half of the lemon juice and all of the zest to whatever's left of the marinade.
- Meanwhile, boil 1.5 litres of water and pour into a large pan. Add the soba noodles and simmer for about 4 minutes until al dante. Drain into a sieve, reserving the water and rinse briefly under a cold tap.
- Return the water to the pan and simmer the samphire in it for about 4 minutes or until just tender, but with a bit of a bite left.
- Drain and pour into a serving dish along with the soba noodles. Dress with the lemon mixture and toss, adding more tamari if desired.
- Top with the tofu pieces.
- Soba noodles are usually a mix of wheat flour and buckwheat flour, but are also available as 100% gluten free buckwheat.
- This makes three large portions or 4 more modest ones.
This also goes to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays.
Other Japanese inspired recipes you might like or those using samphire
- Japanese curry via Green Gourmet Giraffe
- Laverbread samphire quiche via A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table
- Miso tofu noodles via Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen
- Shitake miso noodle bowl via The Veg Space
- Vegetable stir-fried soba noodles via Wallflower Kitchen
- Warm tenderstem and samphire bulgur salad via Tinned Tomatoes