When summer sizzles, turn to this bowl of cold one-dish noodles

As I sit in my Airbnb, with five fans circulating air from a sauna, I wish someone offered me an air conditioning unit. It might seem irrelevant if you’re shrouded in San Francisco’s blanket of fog proper, but it turns out that literally anywhere outside of the city — including Los Angeles, where I went this summer — has very hot summer. If I could ask for another freebie, it might be a smoothie (I’ve become an LA stereotype) or an ice-cold beer with lots and lots of limes, or if I’m eating, a bowl of chilled noodles because that’s all I want now.

When I think of cold noodles, I think of the chewy, meaty, chewy noodle bowl at Steep, a teahouse and cafe in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. These noodles are the inspiration for this week’s recipe: light but satisfying goodness that has me embracing — or at least being distracted — from this electric blanket I’m in.

I start by cooking all the parts of the dish that need to cool before serving, ie browning the ground pork and peppers. I cook pork in a mixture of crispy and tender pieces because it’s called delicious. Ground sausage also works great as long as it’s an Italian style that tends to be quite mild and won’t try to steal the show. For peppers, I like small padrons or shishitos which are plentiful at the moment. They are mostly sweet, with a very vegetal taste and can surprise you with a flash of heat here and there.

I also like them because I can pick them up by hand, by their tiny stem. This stalk, if you cut past the hardened and dried parts, can be tender enough to eat. Go ahead and use all the larger peppers you want, though; cut them into bite-sized pieces before sautéing them.

I’m open minded about noodles here. I prefer a chewy lo mein or udon type noodle with a bit of a bite to it, but spaghetti, soba, or even vermicelli will work here too. I ask for the noodles to be pre-cooked. To prevent them from sticking together, toss them in a bowl with a little oil and set aside while you prepare everything else.

The tomato-peanut sauce is a way for me to use up the Early Girl tomatoes that have been sitting on my counter, neglected longer than we wanted. In this sauce, I mix them in a mixture of garlic and vinegar peanut butter that has been pureed and diluted to a consistency that coats the noodles. Sweet, juicy tomatoes and salty, super nutty peanut butter work great together.

When everything is together in the bowl – the saucy noodles, crumbled pork, blistered peppers, herbs and chopped nuts – it’s an easy way to beat the heat. And full disclosure: These noodles will taste great in San Francisco, too.

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