Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring Noodle Stir-Fry...

Last week we made a dish that called for asparagus, but the spears at the market were definitely looking sad and pretty unappealing. However, we tracked over to a different area yesterday and snatched up a heavy pound that looked strong and vibrant, which means this Spring Noodle Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Walnuts I was waiting to make went back on the menu!

Asparagus was one of the numerous vegetables that I don't think I even tried once when I was younger and if I was served it, I probably slipped it to the dogs so I wouldn't have to try it. I often think about all of the foods I missed out on years ago because I was so stubborn and set in my picky ways... however, I'm thankful how much I can appreciate them now.

While I waited on a pot of water to boil for the pasta, I made a piquant dressing by whisking together toasted sesame oil, cider vinegar, soy sauce, a healthy four cloves of garlic and fresh ginger, along with a couple shakes from our jar of crushed red pepper flakes. Once the pasta was dropped, I drizzle a little more of that toasted sesame oil into a skillet to begin cooking an onion that we cut up into chunky pieces. A few minutes before the onions were completely softened, we tossed in the diagonally sliced asparagus and let it go for a couple minutes. Our asparagus was on the thinner side, but if yours are thicker, you may want to add the pieces when you add the onion to allow enough time for them to cook.

Crisp sugar snap peas that we halved were then placed into the skillet, along with the toasted sesame mixture we prepared earlier. Since they cook in a flash and you want them to retain a bite, only a minute ticks by before we slid the cooked pasta in and tossed all the ingredients together to coat in that snazzy dressing. After plating the servings, we scattered toasted chopped walnuts over each for a crunchy finish to this dish. Since the pasta we used, vermicelli, was quite thin, it only took a few minutes to cook and since we had enough time to prep the remaining ingredients as we waited for the water to boil, I think we spent less than 20 minutes getting this together!

Even though there was a paltry ounce of dry pasta per serving, bulking up the meal with those nutrient-dense vegetables and omega-3 rich walnuts made for a gratifying meal that was filling without making you feel overly full when your plate was clean. I didn't have any on hand, but I bet some toasted sesame seeds scattered on top would be a nice way to weave another layer of sesame into the dish if you wanted to leave off the walnuts - or, if your so inclined, go crazy and add them both!

9 comments:

  1. I just emailed you that I was making asparagus risotto tonight. Screw that, I need to make this instead!

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  2. What a great recipe now that asparagus season is starting. We need a bit of variety from our regular asparagus side dishes.

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  3. Gorgeous cooking! Beautiful photography! Love reading your Blog.

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  4. I *love* asparagus and get so excited in spring when it is in season! I got a TON on sale this week (at Cub!) and it is gorgeous. I think I will use some of it for this recipe--yum! Thanks :o)

    Courtney

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  5. Quinn - Woo!

    Anon - I've got a couple other ideas coming up too!

    Nopham - Thanks!

    Rootbeer Racinette - It was as good as it looked!

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  6. Wow, you just put three of my favorite things together: stir fry, walnuts, and asparagus! What an awesome combination. Hmmm, I may need to make this, um, NOW!

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  7. The stir fry was delicious Joe! To me, it was a cross between lo mein and pad Thai. I didn't use the snow peas because I don't like them, planned to use broccoli instead but in the end decided I didn't want anything to interfere with the asparagus.

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  8. Elyse - Do give it a try!

    Quinn - I'm glad to hear you gave it a try!

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