Asian-style noodles with asparagus and pork*

We hit the barter jackpot with our friends Al and Christl, who gave us rhubarb, kale, and asparagus in return for some littleneck clams.  The asparagus was six inch-thick purple spears of the most tender, delicate asparagus I’ve ever had.  There was no fibrousness or woodiness, and the flavor was mild and fresh.

I julienned the stalks for this dish, and I steamed the tops of the spears separately to serve on the side.  I used the last of the pork I had leftover from burnday dinner.  This recipe, though, can work with just about any vegetable/protein combination.  It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s healthful.  We’ve had variations of it many times, and always enjoyed it. 

Asian-style noodles

2 t. sesame oil
2 T. sugar
1 t. chili-garlic sauce (in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
¼ c. Vietnamese fish sauce (also in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup water (you can use water you used to cook the vegetable or noodles)
1 t. crushed red pepper, or to taste
½ c. chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 cups julienned or diced vegetable (I used asparagus – see NOTE)
6 ounces shredded or diced cooked protein (I used pork – see NOTE)
6 ounces noodles of any kind, cooked (I used whole-wheat spaghetti)

Toss all ingredients together, and serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: For the vegetable, think about having a little crunch. I steamed my asparagus stems slightly, but other vegetables like cucumbers or snow peas could be used raw. For the protein, use what you have, or what you like. Shredded chicken, sliced steak, or steamed shrimp would all work.