After a summer of traveling in places neither as hot nor as humid as the American South, I am back in Virginia. And guess what? The weather is still swampy, and I am once again wilting and lethargic.
In short: it is cold-noodle-and-beer weather.
If it’s hot where you are, if you’re looking for a new cold noodle recipe (I’ve tried some peanut butter-based ones that were great, but not veg-filled enough to justify six servings over a week), or if you’re looking for a vehicle for summer corn, try this. Add whatever veg you want, just be sure to slice thinly and cook as necessary.
Noodle salad with sautéed peppers, corn, and sesame marinade (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
3/4 cup dried arame seaweed (or not, if you can’t be bothered to find this–I skipped)
3 ears corn (as fresh as possible! I get mine at the farmer’s market and cook it that day)
8-12 oz udon noodles (dry, not the frozen kind used here). Soba works, too.
3 tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
4-5 bell peppers, any color but green
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
3/4 cup finely sliced scallions
1 1/2 cup chopped cilantro*
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (black ones look pretty, but whatever you’ve got works)
scant 1/2 cup sesame oil
If using arame: cover with 3c water, soak for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Boil a large pot of water. Add corn on cob and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from pot, reserving water, and set aside to cool. Use a strainer to remove any stray corn silk from the boiling water. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions or until tender. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water, set aside.
Warm oil in wide skillet over medium heat. (To save dishes, you could also use the pot out of which you just emptied the noodles and water.) Add peppers and sauté for 10 minutes. Stir in salt. Then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until soft and cooked through (about another 5-10 minutes). Stir in chili flakes and set aside to cool.
While the peppers are cooking, make the marinade. In the bottom of a big salad bowl, whisk the garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds to combine. Add the sesame oil and whisk again.
Add cooled noodles to dressing in bowl and toss to combine. Cut corn off cobs and add to noodles along with scallions, cilantro, and arame (if using). Mix well, then gently fold through the peppers. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds and serve at room temperature (with a cold beer).
*Did you know you don’t have to pick the cilantro leaves off of the cilantro stems–that you can just roughly tear off the totally stem-y bottoms and then chop the top halves, whole, including the pieces of stems? I learned this about five years ago and it is still a game-changer.