Next in our series of ‘overlapping meals‘, here is a wonderful Asian inspired main dish salad that is quick to prepare on a hot summer evening. I love this cross between a pasta dish and a salad! This was inspired by Vietnamese Noodle Salads, but it draws on similar sauce and techniques from our Pad Thai. It uses some of the same ingredients as well (use up the rest of your noodles, and more of your cilantro and green onions)–but the overall effect is a very different dish. And bonus overlapping ingredient fun: This dish also requires several of the ingredients in tomorrow’s Summer Shrimp Sushi, you’ll use more shrimp (so buy an extra 1/4 lb–or reserve a few from your pound here), and the other half of your cucumber, then!
Shrimp and Asparagus Noodle Salad
1 lb shrimp
1 teaspoon (1 clove) garlic, minced.
3 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice (1/2 lime) [alternately, you can try this with fresh-squeezed orange juice]
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 oz rice sticks (wide rice noodles) [note: The thin rice noodles would work for this as an alternate]
1 bunch fresh asparagus, tough stem tips removed.
1 small yellow or orange bell pepper, in 1 in strips.
1/2 cucumber, diced.
several sprigs of mint and cilantro, chopped coarsely
1-2 green onions, chopped
Soak noodles according to package directions (approx 20 minutes).
Steam asparagus until al dente… Should be cooked through, not crunch, but not mushy. Thin asparagus will cook into 6-8 minutes. Add the bell pepper after 3 minutes and let it steam with the asparagus.
When done, remove from pan and cool with cold water.
Chop asparagus stalks into 2-3 inch pieces.
In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle ~1 Tsp olive oil. Add your shrimp and cook for ~2 min on each side, depending on the size of your shrimp. As soon as the shrimp are opaque, remove from heat.
Combine the garlic, soy sauce, lime, vinegar, and sugar, and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
Add sauce to pan, then add your noodles and toss to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, tossing constantly. Add your shrimp, toss, and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine your noodle and shrimp mixture with the asparagus, pepper, cucumber, and green onions. Add most of your mint and cilantro, reserving a few pinches for the top. Toss to coat thoroughly.
You can serve on a platter, or in individual wide, shallow soup bowls. In either case, first place a generous layer of lettuce on your dish, then spoon on your noodle mixture. Sprinkle on your reserved mint and cilantro. Serve with seasoned rice vinegar and soy sauce–or even chili sauce– for those who like to add a little extra zing.
It’s a perfect light dinner on a hot summer day, or a beautiful brunch entree!