Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips

(recipe, Deborah Madison)

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Whenever people ask what they can make a lot of easily and ahead of time for a party, this is what I suggest. It's endlessly versatile; you can vary the vegetable to go with the season, using, for example, snow peas, roasted peppers, grilled eggplant, julienned carrots, mung bean sprouts, and fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms.


    1. ¼ cup sesame oil
    2. 3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
    3. 7 Tbsp. soy sauce
    4. 3 Tbsp. Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
    5. 3½ Tbsp. dark brown sugar
    6. 2 tsp. salt
    7. 2 tsp. chili oil
    8. 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
    9. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    10. ¼ cup chopped cilantro
    Noodles and asparagus
    1. Salt
    2. 2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
    3. 1 14.0 oz. package thin Chinese egg noodles
    4. 10 scallions, including the firm greens, thinly sliced
    5. ¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted until lightly browned


    1. Mix the marinade ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the asparagus. Cook until bright green and tender but still firm, just a few minutes. Scoop the asparagus out, rinse it under cold water, and set on a towel to dry.
    3. Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add them to the boiling water, and give them a quick stir. Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook. It should take only a few minutes. Pour the noodles into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water.
    4. Toss the noodles with all the marinade and most of the scallions, sesame seeds, and asparagus. Mound them in a bowl or on a platter, then garnish with the remaining asparagus, scallions, and sesame seeds.