The chef prefers using regular soy sauce instead of low-sodium (for better flavor).
The dressing can be refrigerated a few days in advance.
For the dressing
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon plain rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons water
For the salad
6 to 8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1 or 2 heads romaine lettuce hearts, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup shelled, frozen/defrosted edamame
6 to 8 scallions (trimmed), white and light-green parts cut thin on the diagonal
20 grape tomatoes, each cut in half
White sesame seeds, for garnish
Nori (roasted seaweed), cut into very thin matchsticks, for garnish
For the dressing: Whisk together the sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili oil, peanut butter, ginger and water in a medium bowl, to form a shiny, emulsified blend.
For the salad: Bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the soba noodles (to taste) and stir; cook according to the package directions, then drain, rinse until cool and drain again.
Divide the lettuce (to taste) among individual plates. Top each portion with an equal amount of the cooled noodles, then scatter each one with some of the edamame, scallions and grape tomatoes.
Just before serving, spoon a generous amount of the dressing over each salad, then top each with a good pinch of the sesame seeds and the nori. Serve right away. 4 servings