Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You Drooling? You Should Be.

For the past five days, John and I have been all about the Asian salads. That head of Napa cabbage, well, it's not exactly the item you fight over in the kitchen, but it ends up staying around for awhile. Talk about some mileage! Five salads down and we still have some left.

The best news is that we're not making the same salad every time. Far from it. A little variation in the dressing and you've got a completely new dish. And, to be honest, it makes me feel good to get that food processor buzzing. And to be eating a delicious salad.

The only downside to these recipes is the long list of ingredients you're probably going to have to buy. If you've already tampered with Asian cuisine you might be in luck. However, the upside of that particular downside is, like the cabbage, they'll hang around patiently waiting for next time. Also, they are all healthy and relatively cheap. ( Make sure you go to an Asian food store/market to get your goods. They have the best ingredients at the best prices. Also, it's just good to support your local genius. )

The inspiration for the first salad came from Goop. (If you haven't checked out Goop you should! Lots of great ideas over there.) Here's the video. Isn't it great to watch a professional chef at work?

The next recipe is similar, but with noodles added. John and I love both of them equally. The best thing about each recipe is the dressing. I'd recommend doubling it and saving it for when you want to make the salad again, or perhaps using it for a marinade. Be sure to stock up on carrots, limes, cilantro, mint and noodles because you're going to want to make these again and again! They are so delicious you forget how healthy they really are.

Almost-Summer Rice Noodle Salad
From Molly Wizenberg, via Orangette
Adapted from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table Weeknight Kitchen e-mail newsletter

This salad is very versatile, and you can't go wrong with any variety of ingredients. Try using shrimp or roasted tofu in place of the chicken and roasted salted almonds instead of peanuts, or substitute basil for the cilantro. If you like, add slivered fresh spinach leaves, diced jicama, blanched and slivered snow peas, or a bit of julienned mint. The recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, so you’ll have some left over; it will keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be used to marinate poultry, beef, pork, or seafood before grilling.

1 pound thin rice noodles (roughly the thickness of linguine)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
2/3 cup water
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, to taste
1 to 2 hot chilies (red bird, jalapeño, or serrano), seeded and minced, or to taste
6 to 8 leaves Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded or julienned
½ cup tightly packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 grilled or roasted chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain the noodles into a colander, rinse with cold water, and then place them in a large bowl.

Place the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to mince. Add the fish sauce, water, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and chilies, and purée them together. [The mixture will get quite frothy.] Taste, and if necessary, add more chile and adjust the sweet/tart balance. Pour the dressing into a serving bowl, and set it on the dining table.

Toss the vegetables and cilantro with the noodles, and mound the mixture on a platter. Scatter the chicken and peanuts over the top, and serve. Traditionally, this salad is eaten in individual bowls, so invite your dining partners to scoop their own portion from the platter and dress it as they see fit.

Serves 4-6.

And one more that looks amazing, for good measure:

Asian noodle salad with tofu and mango

Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango
Via Food Blogga
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

2 teaspoons sesame oil
12 ounces tofu, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and julienned**
4 celery stalks, julienned
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced into long strips
2 small mangoes, thinly sliced into strips

8 ounces rice or soba noodles
2 tablespoons dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 minced jalapeno chili, or to taste (the more the seeds, the hotter the flavor)

1-2 tablespoons fresh mint, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Once hot, add tofu and saute until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place all other salad ingredients (except noodles and peanuts) in a medium bowl and toss gently. Set aside.

To make the dressing, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together sugar, vinegar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat, and whisk in remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, and add to the bowl of vegetables. Add cooked tofu and dressing, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sliced mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Anonymous said...

YUMMY!! can't wait to try!

Donn said...

Ashley doesn't know this, but we're having one of these dishes soon. My gosh, those look delicious. I hate to make requests, but do you know any good Indian recipes, too?

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