With temperatures rising this week, the idea of stove-top only cooking sounds pretty nice.
So does skipping the meat a time or two and opting for seasonal veggies. The recipe from the Moosewood Collective uses asparagus, my favorite veggie of the season.
It pairs the lovely green stalks with another of my favorites: Udon noodles. You can find the pillowy wheat noodles in the Asian section of most grocery stores. I like to buy mine at the Asian grocery store at Emerald and Orchard.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons dry sherry or sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups water
1 medium onion
2 red or yellow bell peppers
1 pound fresh asparagus
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1/2 pound udon noodles or linguine
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
2 or 3 scallions, diagonally sliced
In a small saucepan, combine the shiitake mushrooms, sherry, soy sauce and water. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, bring three quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
While the shiitake simmer and the water heats, peel and thinly slice the onion. Seed the peppers and slice into long, thin strips. Snap off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus; then slice spears into two-inch pieces.
Drain the shiitake and reserve the stock. Slice off and discard the shiitake stems and thinly slice the caps. In a nonstick skillet, saute the onions in oil for five minutes. Stir in the peppers, shiitake caps and ginger and cook until the vegetables are just tender, five to 10 minutes.
Stir occasionally, adding reserved stock if needed.
When the pot of water is boiling, ease in the asparagus and cook just until tenders, about three minutes. Remove them with a sieve or slotted spoon and set aside. Then cook the udon noodles in the boiling water for seven to ten minutes, until al dente.
Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to remove the excess starch.