Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sesame Asparagus Noodles

Asparagus are always welcome friends at the market. They're the first fresh thing to greet you after months of sub-par winter produce daze. They're as much a sign of winter ending for me as seeing little purple crocus in the park. And good gracious they are tasty.

I like them really crisp, so I usually blanche them or quickly saute in the pan with a bit of olive oil and salt. This time I was craving something a bit different, so I thought sesame would be a nice change of pace. Put those pretty green stalks with airy rice noodles and some red pepper, and you've got yourself a meal.

Rice noodles are about as easy as it gets.... just soak in cool water. Follow the package instructions closely though. An oversoak can turn them into a mushy mess. 

Toss the softened noodles with grilled and chopped veggies, herbs and dressing. Garnish with crunchy peanuts and sesame seeds.

Enjoy and be thankful for this first sign of spring. So much more good and beauty is to come.

Sesame Asparagus Noodles
1 package rice noodles
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 red peppers, cored and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon canola oil
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Sesame seeds

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions -- usually about a 15 minute soak in cool water; noodles may vary, so follow package instructions.

Toss asparagus and red pepper in canola oil. Grill over high, direct heat just until cooked through; about 3-5 minutes. Cool and roughly chop.

Whisk together lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Pour over noodles and toss with asparagus, red peppers, cilantro and green onions. Garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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