My husband loves to order Peking duck from Little Ollie’s, the only half-decent Chinese restaurant we have found in Denver. (This lack of decent Chinese food is, by the way, puzzling, given Denver’s status as an emerging destination for immigrants and its plethora of fantastic “ethnic” food from Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam and other destinations around the world.) Like everything at Little Ollie’s this duck is expensive ($19.95 per order!). The order is also HUGE: It arrives in a pan the size of a wok. All of this adds up to a lot of leftovers, especially considering that I am not a huge fan of duck. So this week, I was finally driven to devise a use for all this leftover meat. I considered something along the lines of a chicken salad but duck meat seemed somehow too..heavy and even a little gamey for that. I also considered making stock but duck meat–this particular duck meat at least–seemed way too expensive for that. I finally settled upon this sesame noodles recipe from this, my favorite website. It fulfilled my criteria in that it was, at least marginally Asian, which seemed fitting given my duck’s origins! I was also able to make use of the already chopped cucumbers and scallions that came with the duck. Additionally, I had a bunch of half-used containers of soba and rice noodles languishing in my pantry, longing for some sort of sesame-oil infused, saucy bath. And finally, and most importantly for someone as impatient as me, this recipe was quick and easy. Oh, and the duck-lover in our family loved it too.
This recipe is very versatile. I have previously enjoyed it in its original and vegetarian version, with tofu. I imagine it would also be good with other types of left-over meat, including left-over Chinese food meat, such as the chicken from Kung Pao chicken.
Peanut Sesame Duck Noodles
For peanut dressing:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used some chunky because that’s all I had: Recall this is a leftovers dish!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water (Or more to taste if you, like me, want a slightly thinner dressing.)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger. (I store mine whole in the freezer, where it keeps for months, then grate it, still frozen, with a microplane. Once grated, it almost immediately thaws.)
1 medium garlic clove chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 table spoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (or other hot sauce of your choice. Also-I love spicy food. Reduce to a dash if you do not.)
3/4 pound thin noodles. (I used my leftover soba and rice noodles but any thin noodle would work, even linguine or spaghetti.)
half a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
About 1 cup of bite-sized pieces of duck (or other leftover meat)
Puree dressing ingredients in blender or processor until smooth. Dump into big bowl.
Cook pasta in 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water until tender–about 5 minutes. Rinse in colander under cold water.
Add pasta and all remaining ingredients to bowl.