Spring may have officially started back in March but today marks the ‘real’ beginning of spring for me: at long last, the first local asparagus is at the market! I’ve been waiting patiently for asparagus season to begin and was not disappointed at the St. Lawrence farmers’ market this morning. I also found local fiddleheads, wild leeks and rhubarb so things are starting to get interesting in the kitchen.
Why not make a delicious and simple Asian-inspired noodle dish to showcase new asparagus? Sesame oil can be found at most supermarkets with the soy sauces. It adds a delicious nutty flavour to dishes and complements the asparagus and mushrooms beautifully (although a little goes a long way so be sure to use a light hand with it!).
Sesame Noodles with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Makes 4 to 6 main course servings
- 1 lb. (500 g) dry long noodles such as spaghetti or linguine
- 12 oz. (340 g) asparagus, cut into 1-1/2” pieces – will equal about 2-1/2 cups
- 4 oz. (113 g) shiitake or button mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/2” thick – will equal about 2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Chopped green onion tops for garnish
- 4 Tablespoons sodium-reduced soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon dark sesame oil
- ¼ cup neutral oil, such as safflower
- 4 large green onions, white and light green parts only
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
- To make the sauce: In a bowl or large measuring cup, add all sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Set sauce aside until ready to use.
- Prepare noodles according to package directions (spaghetti and linguine are usually cooked for about 9 to 11 minutes in salted boiling water).
- While the noodles are cooking, stir fry the vegetables. Heat two tablespoons of neutral oil in a large deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and mushrooms. Stir-fry until the mushrooms have softened and the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 6 minutes.
- Drain the noodles and add to the skillet with the vegetables. Pour sauce over the mixture and use a large spoon and fork to toss the mixture until vegetables are evenly distributed and the noodles are coated with sauce.
- Garnish the noodles with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions before serving.
Copyright Trish Coleman. Please contact the author to obtain permission for republication. This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.