To streamline the cooking, roast the asparagus and the shallots for the peanut sauce at the same time. Use fresh, wide rice noodles (from Asian markets) for the tastiest and best-looking salad.
- 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 4 oz. fettuccine-style rice noodles
- 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and thinly cut into matchsticks
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
- 1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed
- Shallot-Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut asparagus into 2-inch diagonal slices. Toss with oil and pinch of salt. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, and roast, stirring twice, until browned and fairly crispy, about 25 minutes. Transfer to large serving bowl, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring pot of water to a boil. Add noodles, turn off heat and let stand 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Drain, and rinse under cold running water at least 30 seconds to prevent sticking.
- Add noodles, carrots and herbs to asparagus in bowl, and toss to mix. Arrange watercress on individual plates. Mound noodles on watercress, and drizzle each serving with 2 Tbs. Shallot-Peanut Sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Makes 1 cupVegan
This all-purpose peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. Make a double batch so you’ll have extra to slather on grains and noodles—it keeps for weeks in the refrigerator. The sauce firms up when cold, so warm it over low heat for a few minutes before using.
- 4 medium-sized shallots, unpeeled
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar, preferably maple or evaporated cane sugar
- 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice, or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F. Put shallots on baking sheet, and roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until very tender and juices have started to ooze out. Squeeze shallots out of skins into small bowl.
- Put all ingredients except salt into food processor or blender, and puréeuntil smooth. Season with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Serving Size: SERVES 4
- Calories: 380
- Carbohydrate Content: 42 g
- Fat Content: 21 g
- Fiber Content: 5 g
- Protein Content: 10 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 4 g
- Sodium Content: 290 mg
- Sugar Content: 8 g