Tea-poached salmon noodle bowls

This plate has been cooked in our kitchen on a regular rotation and I have to admit that it's one of my favorite salmon recipes to date. It comes from one of my favorite recipe books, The Sprouted kitchen, and I daaaare you to try it out. I often find myself to really wanting to sample a new recipe just because it's giving me those signs it's going to be a good one, but most of the times "this mom" doesn't have all the necessary ingredients. So, I try to find ways to use what I have available in my pantry that may not change the overall taste/texture/flavor. After all, kitchen is a place to experiment, isn't it you guys? This time, I made some changes to some of the secondary ingredients the original recipe uses, such as using wide noodles instead of soba, substituting fresh ginger with ground one or replacing tahini with smooth peanut butter, and I assure you the result was non other than one of the most addictive salmon noodle bowls around.

Soba bowls with tea-poached salmon (adapted from The Sprouted kitchen)

Serves 4

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons agave nectar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 bunch broccoli
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sea salt
3 bags green tea
1 tablespoon peppercorns
½ cup mirin or dry white wine
1¼ pound wild salmon fillet
1 (9.5-ounce) package soba noodles
4 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup white or black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, tahini, agave nectar, lime zest and juice, tamari, and grated ginger until smooth. Set aside.
Cut the broccoli into small florets, including some of the stems. Combine the broccoli in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, and salt and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.
In a saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low, add the tea bags and peppercorns and steep for 3 minutes, then discard the tea bags. Add the mirin to the poaching liquid. Gently slide in the salmon, skin side down. Cover, and cook until the salmon is just barely cooked in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. If in doubt, it’s better to undercook the salmon a bit rather than overcook it. Remove the salmon to a plate and flake it with a fork (you will notice a natural grain). Set aside and loosely cover with foil.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions or until al dente.
While the noodles cook, chop the roasted broccoli. Drain the noodles. In a large bowl, toss together the warm noodles, broccoli, dressing, green onions, and half the cilantro. Divide the noodles among four bowls, top with a portion of the salmon, and sprinkle the remaining cilantro and the sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.

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