Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dinner Train: Little Women - Sesame Asparagus Noodle Salad

Jo March does many things well.  Writing, sistering, befriending old ladies and young boys, burning off curls with a curling iron, you get the idea.  She does not, however, cook asparagus well.  Damn shame, because asparagus cooked well is a thing of beauty.  Tossed with some noodles in a sesame soy sauce?  Boom.  Delicious made easy and quick.  I know I made some adaptations, which I noted on a really crumpled and soy-stained Post-It that has been on my fridge since May...but they're a little less than detailed, so I recommend working from the original recipe.

Sesame Asparagus Noodle Salad
(Adapted from Culinate.com)
Serves MANY

1/2 cup sesame oil
4 Tbsp soy (but the original says 7, so...)
3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Rice wine vinegar
3 1/2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili oil (or more if you're feelin' craycray)
1 garlic clove

2 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 package (approx 14-16 oz) rice noodles
10 scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 package extra firm tofu, cut into small squares
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce

1.  Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl, and stir to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
2.  In a large wok, heat the sesame oil and saute the tofu, stirring every minute or so for about six mintes.  Add the soy and saute two to three more minutes until it is absorbed. Remove from heat. and cool entirely.
3.  You have two options for cooking the asparagus.  You can add it to the end of the tofu cooking process (probably 4-5 minutes), or toss it in for the last three or so minutes of the noodle boiling (next step).  The goal is to let it get bright green and crisp, not firmly crunchy.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the rice noodles until done.  Drain, rise, and store in a bowl (or the original pot) with some water to prevent sticking.  Let it cool entirely. 
4.  In a very large serving vessel, toss together the asparagus, the tofu, the noodles, the sesame seed, and the scallions.  For pretty factor, save a bit of the sesame seeds and the scallions to garnish the top with.
5.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to ensure it is total cooled, and then serve with some lemonade and a quality book club discussion!

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