It was not long ago that I learnt the magic of soaked cashews. Briefly soaking cashews in hot water softens them enough that you can blend them into a creamy sauce.Well summer is basil season, and by adding some basil, lime and mint to the mix you can achieve a gorgeously fresh green-hued sauce for noodles. Top those noodles with pan-seared pork and green runner beans and you have a nutritious bowlful of summery supper.
Basil-Cashew-Lime noodles with pork and green beans
1 cup salted, roasted cashews, divided
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
2 1/2 tsp. light brown sugar, divided
2 large boneless pork loin chops (about 1 1/4 lb. total)
8 oz. udon noodles
2 cups basil leaves
2 small serrano chiles, seeds removed
1 Tbsp. finely grated lime zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise
1 cup mint leaves
Lime wedges (for serving)
Place 3/4 cup cashews in a blender and cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Let soak 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix turmeric, pepper, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Working one at a time, place pork chop flat on a work surface. First, butterfly the pork chop so that it’s thinner, which will reduce cooking time and create more surface area for seasoning. Using a sharp knife and starting from an outside edge, slice three-quarters of the way through the centre of chop, as though you’re slicing a bagel in half, then open it up like a book. Place butterflied chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or inside a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and pound to 1/4" thin. Repeat with remaining chop. Rub chops with turmeric mixture and let sit 10 minutes.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Run under cold water to stop the cooking, then transfer to a large bowl.
Add basil, chillies, lime zest and juice, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar and 3/4 tsp. salt to cashews and cashew soaking water in blender and purée until smooth and creamy. Pour sauce over noodles and toss to combine.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high until shimmering. Cook chops one at a time until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice into 1/2"-thick strips.
While pork rests, cook green beans in same skillet over high heat, stirring often, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Divide noodle mixture among bowls. Arrange pork and green beans over. Top with mint and remaining 1/4 cup cashews. Serve with lime wedges alongside.