It really has been a whirlwind couple of weeks and I haven’t had a chance to get to blogging. However, we are back with a delicious, light, flavorful salad that makes eating healthy very easy. This past weekend we ate a lot food. While I didn’t blog about it yesterday, we had ribs and mac & cheese with guests which was both amazing and super heavy. With our stomachs begging for lighter fare and the meal plan having some rich meals coming up, we opted for a digestive break. Couple that with the heat this weekend and a cold salad was at the top of our meal list today!
The Vietnamese Salad (Bún Chả) recipe is from Cooks Illustrated and something we’ve wanted to make for awhile. We also suggest doubling the sauce recipe – we found we were jonesing for more but only made as much as directed.
I really enjoyed our dinner tonight and hope you enjoyed reading about it!
Noodles and Salad
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli
- 1 head Boston lettuce (8 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
- 1 small Thai chile, stemmed and minced (we used a jalapeno)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ⅔ cup hot water
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- ¼ cup lime juice (2 limes)
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground pork
- FOR THE NOODLES AND SALAD: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Stir in noodles and cook until tender but not mushy, about 4 to 8 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain noodles very well, spread on large plate, and let stand at room temperature to dry. Arrange lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, and mint separately on large platter and refrigerate until needed.
- FOR THE SAUCE: Using mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef’s knife), mash Thai chile (or jalapeno), 1 tablespoon sugar, and garlic to fine paste. Transfer to medium bowl and add hot water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside.
- FOR THE PORK PATTIES: Combine shallot, fish sauce, sugar, baking soda, and pepper in medium bowl. Add pork and mix until well combined. Shape pork mixture into 12 patties, each about 2½ inches wide and ½ inch thick.
FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Cook patties (directly over coals if using charcoal; covered if using gas) until well charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer grilled patties to bowl with sauce and gently toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Setting it all up
Transfer grilled patties to bowl with sauce and gently toss to coat. Serve noodles and salad separately.