I had a lonely little bundle of lo mein noodles left in the pantry. Sometimes the best meals are birthed from the odds and ends ingredients in your kitchen. I am in love with the combination of green olives and carrots, after being turned onto it by a recipe in David Tanis's A Platter of Figs. He has a delicious moroccan carrot salad where my pesto ingredients were inspired from. This was fantastically good, the kind of " I have to buy lo mein noodles way more frequently" kind of good. This dish would serve four people a small meal but I think you will be happier making all of it for just yourself or two people. I will say this dish is a bit spicy because of the amount of chile pepper I used - if you are sensitive, notch it down by half.
Recipe (enough for 4 small portions)
Lo mein noodles - I used 1 bundle from a roland pack (4 oz)
3 Large whole/uncut carrots - peeled and then julienned into long carrot "noodles."
Green (castellano) olives - 1 cup (I get the ones with pits... they have better flavor)
1 Shallot - coarsely chopped
Garlic - 2-3 cloves coarsely chopped
Olive Oil - 2 TB
Cumin seed - 1 TB (pre-ground cumin will be ok too)
Coriander seed - 1TB (pre-ground coriander will be ok too)
Red chile flakes - 1 tsp (this was spicy so cut down on chile flakes if needed)
Juice of one lime
Salt - to taste (1/2 - 1 tsp)
Toppings (optional) - 1 TB of parsley and almond meal
Fill a medium pot with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add noodles and gently boil for about 8 - 10 minutes (until cooked). While noodles are boiling prepare your carrot "noodles." Grasp the carrot stick by the thick end and lightly strip down the side with a peeler, rotating after each strip. This should give you long streaks of carrot. Place carrot "noodles" into a large bowl and set aside. When noodles are ready pour into colander and rinse while tossing in cool water for a minute to cool the noodles. Let drain.
Place cumin seed, coriander, and red chile flake into a skillet on medium high heat. Toss over the heat for several minutes until the seeds just barley start to pop. Pour spices into a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Grind until it is a powder, set aside. (It is ok to use pre-ground cumin/coriander, it just might not be as fresh tasting. It this case just add directly to the blender)
Pit your olives by cutting off "petals" of olive meat from the pit. Discard pits and place "meats" into a blender or food processor. Add spices, garlic, shallot, lime juice, salt, and olive oil to blender with olives and blend until smooth. Adding extra olive oil if needed. Taste and adjust salt. Add cooled lo mein noodles and pesto to carrots and toss until coated. Serve into bowls and top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and almond meal. This is too good not to share!