Jun 18, 2009

cold noodles with peanut sauce

Sometimes I go through my cookbooks and realize all the recipes I have yet to try. These noodles are the result of one those recent scavenger hunts. The recipe came from Deborah Madison's book, The Savory Way. I've had this cookbook for many years and it was starting to collect a bit of dust when I picked it up again last week. So you can imagine my delight when I starting thumbing through and almost every single recipe looked not only doable but intriguing and tasty.

In the introduction of the book Madison writes, "The word savory isn't one we use very often, but to me it suggests the place where flavor and fragrance meet, in foods with deep, full tastes that are exciting to the palate...this food has character and even elegance; but at heart it's simple home cooking..." WOW, this is exactly the kind of food I try to create. I felt an instant connection, and look forward to trying more from this novel of savory, nourishing, mealtime solutions.

Recipe for Cold Noodles with Peanut Sauce
From Deborah Madison's, The Savory Way

1 pound Chinese egg noodles or linguine
2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil or dark sesame oil*
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 half-pound package firm tofu, cut into small cubes
peanut sauce (see below)
chopped roasted peanuts or toasted black sesame seeds
fresh cilantro for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. When the water boils, add salt to taste and the noodles. Cook until the noodles are done, about 3-5 minutes. Immediately drain into a colander (waiting in the sink) and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, shake off the excess water. (If you prefer to have the noodles warm, shake off the excess water but don't rinse them).

Toss the noodles with oil (optional), cilantro, scallions, and tofu. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use; then toss with the peanut sauce. Garnish with roasted peanuts or sesame seeds and fresh cilantro sprigs.

peanut sauce

6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large bunch of cilantro, leaves and upper stems only, finely chopped
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot chili oil
1/2 cup peanut butter or sesame-peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2-3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, to taste

Mix the garlic, cilantro and ginger in a bowl with the oils, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sugar until well combined (this can also be done in a food processor). Add the vinegar and season to taste with additional soy sauce if necessary. The sauce can be thinned with hot water if it comes out thicker than you like. This sauce can be kept for months if stored in an airtight jar and refrigerated. If refrigerated thin it with hot water as needed before using.

Deborah's Notes on the Peanut Sauce:
- The peanut sauce is useful to have on hand and when covered and refrigerated will keep for months. She suggests spreading it on grilled tofu, with grilled eggplant, or as a dipping sauce for tofu, or fresh cucumber.

Local Ingredients:
Cilantro - This was grown in the our garden, but can also be found at the Farmer's Market
Garlic and Scallions - Farmer's Market

Alison's Notes:
*I completely forgot to add the oil in the noodle mix and thought it turned out fine. It might help keep the noodles from sticking, but once you add the peanut sauce and mix they come apart fairly well.


Amy said...

This looks yummy--a nice contrast in texture (and you've got to love that hearty peanutty flavor) to enjoy with a big green salad in the summer. I can't wait to try it! This weekend??

Alison said...

If you try it this weekend (or whenever) I'd love to know what you think. Having tonight for dinner and the peanut flavors just keep getting better!