Cold Noodles with Sichuan Peppercorn Dressing
Chef Simone Tong of Little Tong Noodle Shop and Silver Apricot in NYC uses a technique popular in Chinese cooking to pack big flavor into this cold noodle salad: Heat oil just until smoking, then carefully drizzle it over spices and aromatics, like Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, chile flakes, and scallions to create a deliciously fragrant dressing base for any noodle. Save any extra dressing for marinating smashed cucumbers and dipping dumplings.
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tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
scallions, thinly sliced
garlic cloves, finely chopped
Tbsp. white or black sesame seeds
tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
cup vegetable oil
cup tamari soy sauce
Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
ears of corn, kernels removed
oz. green beans, trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal
oz. dried udon or soba noodles
Using the side of a chef’s knife, crush Sichuan peppercorns until coarsely ground. (You can also do this in a spice mill if you have one.) Transfer to a small heatproof bowl and add scallions, garlic, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.
Heat oil in a small heavy saucepan until the first sign of smoke. Using a towel to hold the handle, immediately pour oil into bowl with Sichuan peppercorn mixture. (This technique releases the flavors of the aromatics without burning them.) Stir in tamari and vinegar and season dressing with salt; let cool.
Cook corn in a large pot of boiling generously salted water until bright yellow and tender, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl of cold water and let cool.
Cook green beans in same pot of water until bright green and tender, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with corn and let cool. Drain; set vegetables aside.
Return water in pot to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water; drain well.
Combine noodles and reserved corn and green beans in a large bowl. Drizzle in ½ cup dressing and toss to coat. (You can add more dressing if desired; reserve any leftovers for another use.)
Do ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
How would you rate Cold Noodles with Sichuan Peppercorn Dressing?
Wow, the dressing! So outstanding and it made A LOT. I was apprehensive, since Sichuan peppercorns are not something that I’ve liked in the past, but the effect was very subtle and not too tingly. I was also tempted to cut the oil in half, since a cup is a lot, but it all worked out. A perfect work lunch.