Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fruits of Labor: Vermicelli Salad

I ate tons of this Vietnamese noodle salad in San Francisco. There were so many places that made up big delicious bowls of the stuff! Essentially a salad of lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers & carrots it is topped with thin rice noodles and usually a meat or tofu of some sort. 

I haven't a place here in London yet that I really like so I thought I would try out this staple myself. You should be able to find rice noodles in the speciality sections at the market or certainly at an Asian market and same goes for the fish sauce. If not you can substitute vermicelli pasta noodles. I like to use the thinnest style of rice noodles - 

This recipe serves 2 

To make the Salad you will need: 
1 palm sized head of little gem lettuce per serving shredded (approx 1 1/2 cups)  
1 cup of peeled cucumber cut into matchsticks 
1 cup of shredded or matchstick cut carrots 
1/4 cup of cilantro & mint leaves
1/4 cup of chopped honey roasted peanuts 
6 scallions sliced thinly 
1 cup of bean sprouts 
10 oz of top sirloin (marinaded for at least 30 minutes) 
Rice noodles** 

Marinade for the meat: 
3 tbsp of fish sauce 
3 tbsp of soy sauce 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 tbsp of honey 
1 large clove of minced garlic 
1 tsp of chili flakes 
1 stalk of lemongrass sliced the long way (give it a couple of whacks against the counter before slicing) 

Place sirloin in the marinade and flip over occasional while preparing the rest. 

Sauce for the Noodles:  
2 tbsp of fish sauce 
2 tsp of honey 
juice of 1 1/2 limes. reserve the remaining half for garnish 
1 clove of garlic minced very finely 
pinch of chili flakes
Portion into two small serving bowls and set aside. This sauce will be poured over the dish just before serving. 

To make the Salad:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and cook until just past al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. Make sure they are thoroughly drained before adding to salad. 
**(usually rice noodles come in large bunches of 3 within the package and I split 1 bunch between 2 people. If not I usually figure 1cup - 1 1/2 cups of cooked noodles per serving) 
While the noodles are cooking drizzle a pan with oil and saute scallions until very soft. When the are done remove oil and scallions and set aside. Remove the steak from the marinade. In the same pan you just cooked the scallions, cook the steak. 4-5 minutes on each side over medium height heat for medium rare. let stand for about 10 minutes and then slice very thinly. 

Assemble portions of cucumber, carrots, lettuce, bean sprouts, herbs and peanuts in the bottom of a large bowl. Place the drained noodles on top and drizzle with scallions & oil. Place thinly sliced steak on top.  Serve accompanied with previously prepared noodle sauce, large wedge of reserved lime & sriracha sauce. Pour fish sauce down over the top of the noodles just before eating & enjoy !

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