Chinese Noodle Salad with Eggplant and Green Beans
7 Tbs. toasted Sesame Oil
7 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce or tamari
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt (or less)
1 Tbs. red pepper oil
8 - 10 scallions (or use 1/2 the onion from your box!)
3 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
1 lb. spaghetti
For the eggplant and green beans:
1 lb. eggplant
1 Tbs. fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup green beans, stems removed
1/2 lb mung bean sprouts (optional)
3 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until lightly colored
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned (optional)
First, make your dressing. Combine all the ingredients except for the noodles in a bowl, stir them together until the sugar has dissolved. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the noodles. Cook until done but not overly soft and then pour them to a colander. Rinse with cold water immediately to cool them, and shake off the excess water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and stir in half the dressing. Use your hands to evenly distribute the dressing over the noodles. Set the remaining dressing aside. If the noodles are not going to be used for awhile, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the eggplants with a knife and bake them on a baking sheet until they are soft and their skins are shriveled (20 - 30 minutes). When they are done, slice them in half lengthwise and let them cool on the baking sheet. When they are cool and you can handle them safely, peel away the skin and shred the flesh into rough strips. Add the ginger and garlic to the reserved dressing, and then dress the eggplant strips.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook them for just 20-30 seconds. Remove with a tongs or strainer, and rinse them in cold water. Cut them into long, thin strips and set aside. Cook the sprouts using the same method. Toss the noodles with the eggplant and half of the sesame seeds. Pile it on a platter and surround with the green beans, carrot, and mung sprouts. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Molly Wizenburg at Orangette.