Acidic and salty, with an ocean whiff from kelp and Katsuobushi, ponzu (the name translates to "vinegar punch") is on track to be your new favorite condiment. But a sauce so complex comes with a long ingredient list and deserves a salad that will treat it well. Here, the ponzu acts as a marinade for corn and tofu, both of which get roasted, then does its duty as salad dressing. Tossed with slippery udon and a band of vegetables and herbs—some crunchy, some sweet, some oniony, some fresh—the ponzu is its most savory, most refreshing self. —Sarah Jampel
4 to 6
For the ponzu:
soy sauce or tamari (I used a reduced sodium version)
fresh lemon juice
fresh lime juice
mirin (sweet sake)
2-inch piece kombu
red pepper flakes
For the noodle salad:
toasted sesame oil
extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
small head Savoy cabbage, cut into small ribbons, rinsed, and dried
cucumber, roughly chopped
scallions, green parts only, chopped
toasted sesame seeds, or more to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan and mix to distribute.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the ponzu into a small bowl. Let cool completely.
For the noodle salad:
Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, making sure to rinse them well under cold running water once they have finished cooking. Spread the noodles out onto a clean cloth to let them dry, then add to a bowl with the toasted sesame oil and toss to coat. This should prevent the noodles from forming large clumps. Put into the refrigerator to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. To a small bowl, add the miso to 4 tablespoons of the ponzu. Whisk well to incorporate the miso and get rid of most of the clumps (some are okay).
Add the cubed tofu to a medium bowl and pour 3 tablespoons of the ponzu and miso mixture over top, stirring so that all of the tofu is evenly coated.
While the tofu marinates, cut the kernels off the ears of the corn, trying to get as much from the cob as possible. Corn juice is okay. Add the corn to a bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of ponzu-miso dressing.
Spread the tofu onto a baking sheet and the corn onto another. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring after 10, until the tofu has golden, crisp edges and the corn is cooked and starting to brown. If you'd like your corn more charred, leave it in for longer. Let the tofu and corn cool completely on their baking sheets.
In a large serving bowl, pile in the noodles, tofu, corn, edamame, cabbage, and cucumber. Pour in the rest of the ponzu—reserving a little bit if you'd like to dress the salads more at the table—and toss so that everything is mixed and coated. Top with scallions and toasted sesame seeds and serve with lime wedges and torn herbs.
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.