Cold Peanut Noodles with Seasonal Vegetables
Serves 3 as a main, 4 to 6 as a side
1 package udon, soba, or somen noodles (8 to 10 ounces), or similar amount dried spaghetti or fettuccini
1 to 2 cups broccoli florets, sugar snap peas, or asparagus
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 scallions, green and white parts separated
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons mirin
1 small Kirby or Persian cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon toasted black or white sesame seeds
1. Cook the noodles in gently boiling, unsalted water for 7 to 9 minutes, or according to package instructions. Transfer to a colander, trying to reserve the cooking water, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Bring the water back to a boil and blanch the broccoli, snap peas, or asparagus until just tender but retains some crunch—do not overcook. Transfer to an ice bath to halt the cooking.
2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and mash it together with the salt and ginger and salt to make a paste. Combine with the vinegar in a big mixing bowl and let stand for a few minutes, which will temper some of the bite.
3. Mince the dark green parts of the scallions and slice the white parts into thin rings. Add the dark greens to the bowl, along with the peanut butter, olive oil, soy sauce, olive oil, mirin, and cilantro, whisking until smooth. Taste for balance, adding more soy sauce or mirin for salt and sweetness respectively—it should be quite flavorful, as it’ll weaken when you toss it with noodles. Add the cooled noodles and drained broccoli and use tongs to toss. Garnish with the scallion whites, cucumber, and sesame seeds and serve.