Soba with Garlicky Spinach and Sesame Oil

(recipe, Peter Berley)


If you're making the duck to go with this, feel free to replace the sesame oil in this tasty recipe with duck fat — or divide the recipe into two pans and make one sesame and one ducky. Duck fat is a splendid, savory addition. Then again, so is sesame oil.


  1. Sea salt or kosher salt
  2. 8 oz. soba noodles
  3. 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil or duck fat
  4. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  5. 1½ lb. spinach (about 3 bunches), trimmed and rinsed
  6. Sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
  7. Soy sauce, preferably naturally brewed, for serving


  1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Scoop out and reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the noodles.
  2. Wipe the pan dry and set it over medium heat. Add the oil or duck fat and the garlic and let sizzle until the garlic is lightly colored, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until wilted. Return the noodles and the reserved cooking water to the pan and heat through.
  3. Divide the brothy noodles among four bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pass the soy sauce at the table.


Editor’s note: What’s missing from the Peter Berley recipes on Culinate are his hints on meal planning, tofu pressing, and sesame-seed toasting, as well as tasty tidbits on nori, mirin, and burdock. By all means, get your hands on his book for the full meal deal.