I’m crazy for noodles. From baked macaroni and cheese to chicken lo mien—if I had to, I could easily eat noodles for every meal. If my children had their way, I think they would too. But now that summer is here I’m looking for lighter recipes that include cold pasta salads and un-cooked sauces. When the tomato season kicks-in soon I will be making a crushed raw heirloom tomato sauce, and almost any day of the week I will make Momofuko’s version of ginger scallion noodles. But one of my all time favorite cold noodle dishes comes from Mr. Minimalist Mark Bittman: Asian noodles with sesame sauce that’s incredibly tasty and versatile. I love it because it’s a fast and easy lunch or afternoon snack, but also because you can add so many things to make it even more interesting: rotisserie chicken, diced cucumbers, shredded carrots, sliced avocado.
And it’s particularly great for packing on a picnic to the playground or just your backyard–so I make a pretty big batch, ensuring that there will be leftovers.
Recipe for Sesame Noodles (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Make Everything)
-Lightly toast 4 tablespoon of sesame seeds in skillet over medium heat. It will take 5-10 minutes, move them around frequently to make sure they do not burn. Set aside.
-Meanwhile boil water and add 1lb of asian noodles (lo mein, udon, Chinese egg or soba will all do) per their instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Rinse again. Toss with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and put aside.
-In a blender or food processor combine the following: 3/4 cup of chunky all-natural peanut butter (you can also try cashew butter or tahini), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tsp of minced ginger, 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the toasted sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Whir to combine. Then add 1-5 tablespoons of hot water while machine is on and until the sauce reaches the consistency of heavy cream.
-Combine sauce with noodles and toss. Add any of the following: sliced scallions, sliced cucumber, grated carrots, shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced avocado.
-Serve in bowl with sprinkling of remaining sesame seeds.