Saturday, July 3, 2010

Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Today I was struggling to come up with any lunch ideas.  I pawed through our fridge for inspiration, but I just wasn't in the mood to slave away in a hot kitchen roasting beets for Roasted Beets with Cumin and Mint, or roasting salmon for Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils.  Plus that salmon recipe is just far too elaborate for a late afternoon lunch.  I thought about running to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for this Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Mint and Ricotta Salata, but it is just way too hot out.  Then I looked in the pantry and discovered we had soba, so I decided to make a recipe for Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce from my new Susan Spicer cookbook.  On that note, I need to thank my friends Jen and Dave for the book because the noodles were delicious.  They were also light enough to make a fabulous light (but still satisfying) meal on a hot day.  Alex and I agreed that the noodles would be great topped with some cooked shrimp or firm tofu if you wanted to jazz them up a little.  You could also throw in an assortment of vegetables - shelled edamame, sugar snap peas, and snow peas immediately come to mind.  While we ate the noodles warm, I think they would also be delicious cold if you wanted to serve them at a potluck or a picnic.  But the soba is nice and nutty, which I love, and the sauce is fresh and bright - particularly with a little extra squirt of lime juice and some additional sambal oelek for extra heat.

Recipe after the jump!

Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans
By Susan Spicer

For noodles
12 oz. soba noodles
For sauce
2 tbsp ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp sambal oelek
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup peanut or canola oil

Cook noodles in boiling salted water until cooked through, but still firm, about 5-6 minutes.  Drain well and place in a large bowl.

To prepare sauce, place all ingredients (reserving 2 tbsp each of cilantro and scallions for garnish), except the peanut oil and salt in a blender or food processor and puree.  With the motor running, slowly stream in peanut oil.  The sauce should be thick and creamy, like honey.  If it is too thick, add a little water to thin it out.  Taste and adjust seasonings for spice or salt.

Toss the noodles with the spicy peanut sauce.  Garnish with reserved cilantro and scallions.

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