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Cold Noodles With Tomatoes and Peanut Sauce

Chilled TomatoPeanut Noodle Salad in a white bowl on black and white marble surface
Photograph by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Mieko Takahashi

Summer food is a very particular quandary: some of the best produce of the year, during arguably the worst cooking season (too hot, too stuffy, too sweaty). The no-cook route is great, paved with salads and stone fruits aplenty, but it’s when you find yourself on the internet searching, “How many nights in a row can I eat watermelon for dinner?” that you know things have gone too far. Consider this chilled noodle salad for such times. The cooking, if you can call it that, is limited to boiling a pot of noodles. (Resist the urge to cook them al dente, as you would pasta. Chilled noodle salads benefit from well-done noodles.) The sauce involves grating tomatoes—summer’s most ephemeral joy—into a bowl and whisking in creamy peanut butter and a series of fridge-door condiments. The end result is a refreshingly tangy and spicy dinner.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    25 minutes

  • Yield

    4 servings

Ingredients

8–9 oz. dried udon noodles or spaghetti
Vegetable oil (for noodles)
12 oz. ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes (1–2 large)
⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chili crisp
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. sugar
4 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved, quartered if large
⅓ cup salted roasted peanuts, preferably cocktail
⅓ cup store-bought fried shallots
Thinly sliced scallions and coarsely chopped cilantro (for serving)

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Cook 8–9 oz. dried udon noodles or spaghetti in a medium pot of boiling salted water 1 minute longer than package directions. Drain noodles in a colander and rinse under cool running water. Drizzle with a bit of vegetable oil (about 1 tsp.; this will keep the noodles from sticking) and toss to coat. Set noodles aside.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, slice a thin round off the bottoms of 12 oz. ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes (1–2 large). Starting at cut end, grate tomatoes on the largest holes of a box grater over a large bowl until all that’s left is the flattened tomato skin and stem; discard. Add ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup chili crisp, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 4 tsp. sugar and whisk vigorously until sauce is smooth and emulsified.

    Step 3

    Add 4 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved, quartered if large, and reserved noodles to sauce and toss until well coated.

    Step 4

    Arrange noodle salad on a platter and top with ⅓ cup salted roasted peanuts, preferably cocktail, and ⅓ cup store-bought fried shallots. Scatter thinly sliced scallions and coarsely chopped cilantro over.

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