This month, Tasting Table celebrates all things salad. Keep your cool with us.
We could eat pasta every day—but during the summer months, the thought of sweating into a big, beautiful bowl of Bolognese just doesn't sound appetizing.
Paul C. Reilly of Denver's Beast + Bottle agrees: "I crave pasta all the time, but sometimes you just can't do it when it's so hot out." Enter his cold soba with grilled shrimp, tomatoes and mangoes (see the recipe), which "satisfies the craving but is refreshing, too."
Chef Paul C. Reilly | Soba noodles dunked in an ice bath after cooking
It's also a way to turn one grilling session into two meals. Reilly readily admits that he usually fires up the grill only once a week during the summer. So he'll make something else one night, and while the coals are starting to cool, throw on the quick-cooking shrimp, tomatoes and mangoes to char. When he's ready to serve the cold soba the next day, his toppings are good to go. "You might as well get the most out of your coals," he says.
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As for the soba noodles, he tosses them in an Asian-flecked dressing made with soy, dark sesame oil, garlic and ginger—as well as one surprising ingredient: tahini. "The tahini adds body to the dish and makes it creamy in a way, even though you're serving it cold."
He's right. The final dish has a nutty flavor reminiscent of peanut sauce, which doesn't overwhelm the plump shrimp, smoky tomatoes and mangoes. And though Reilly notes that he wouldn't necessarily serve the dish at his restaurant, where the focus is on whole-animal cookery, killer wine and good local produce, it's one of his favorites to make at home.
"Everyone wants those 'chef at home' recipes, right?" he says with a laugh. We sure do. And we'll be making this one tonight.
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