Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vietnamese Noodle Salad


As promised here is another great grilling/summer recipe to celebrate the first day of Summer.  This one comes from the lovely people over at Fine Cooking.  The recipe is not your standard BBQ meal, it's a nice lite noodle salad with a sweet and sour Vietnamese sauce to marinate your grilled pork and veggies in and at the end you pour the tasty sauce over the whole dish.  The flavours come together nicely with the fresh mint and cilantro.  And I got to use mint from my own garden. It always feels so rewarding to eat something that you've grown yourself!

It does take a little effort to get everything together but the recipe is laid out well so that everything flows easily.  If you can prep some of the ingredients the day before this can easily be a quick weeknight meal.  Once the sauce is made, the noodles are cooked, the pork is grilled and the herbs are chopped you're good to go.  It is also great for a hot day like today, no standing over a hot stove frying or baking.

The final verdict....EXCELLENT!  My kind of dinner...Noodles, herbs, lettuce, grilled pork and veggies, you can't go wrong.


Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork Patties
From Fine Cooking

Ingredients
·         8 oz rice vermicelli noodle
·         Kosher salt
·         1/2 cup very thin carrot strips (julienne)
·         1/2 cup very thin daikon radish or jícama strips (julienne)
·         3 tsp. granulated sugar
·         1 tsp. red-wine vinegar
·         Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (nuoc cham) see recipe below
·         1 lb. ground pork (ask the butcher for coarsely ground pork butt)
·         4 scallions, thinly sliced
·         1-1/2 tsp. fish sauce
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         6 large leaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
·         1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
·         1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Direction

1.       Soak the rice vermicelli in a large bowl of warm water for 15 min. Meanwhile, bring about 2 quarts water and 1 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Drain the noodles and add them to the boiling water, stirring with chopsticks to gently separate the strands. When the water returns to a boil (after about 2 min.), drain the noodles in a colander (push the strands against the sides of the colander with chopsticks to help them drain completely). Put the noodles on a platter and fluff them with chopsticks. Set aside until cool, at least 30 min. and up to 2 hours.

2.      Put the carrots and daikon or jícama in a colander. Sprinkle on 1 tsp. of the sugar, the vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and mix well. Let the colander sit in the sink for 10 min., and then gently squeeze the vegetables to get rid of the liquid. Add the vegetables to the bowl of dipping sauce.

3.      Put the pork in a bowl. Add the scallions, the remaining 2 tsp. sugar, the fish sauce, 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and mix gently with your hands. Shape the meat into small patties about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick; you should have ten patties.

4.      Grill the patties over a medium- hot gas or charcoal grill, (or in an oiled grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat) until they’re well browned outside and cooked through but still moist inside, 8 to 10 min. on a grill; 15 min. on a grill pan (cut into one to check—it’s fine if the pork is still a little pink inside). Add the cooked patties, still warm, to the bowl of sauce and vegetables and let sit for 5 to 10 min. before serving.

5.       Serve the noodles on the platter, along with the lettuce, mint, and cilantro. Remove the pork patties from the sauce and put them on a different platter. Give everyone a large bowl and let people serve themselves noodles, lettuce, and herbs, then top that with pork patties and a generous drizzle of the dipping sauce and the vegetables in it. Toss gently.


Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

·         3 large cloves garlic, minced
·         1 hot red chile, such as serrano, thinly sliced
·         1 cup water
·         1/2 cup fish sauce
·         1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
·         1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions

Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

ENJOY!

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