VIETNAMESE RICE NOODLE SALAD the best international recipe

This recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, The Best International Recipe, developed by America’s Test Kitchen.  Any creation by ATK is considered a Bible in my kitchen.  I’m especially excited about this Best Recipe book as we are starved for international cuisine here in the Gorge.  Merely writing about this recipe makes me drool–the combination of fresh ingredients is heavenly. The book calls for broiling the pork tenderloin, but because the prep is tedious and time consuming, I typically roast the pork and slice it over the salad.  Either way, it is delish.  Happy eating….

PORK TENDERLOIN:
GLAZE:  1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TBSP mirin, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1 TBSP honey. WHISK together in a small bowl and set aside.  

REMOVE the silver skin with a knife.  DRY the tenderloin with paper towels, salt and pepper.  HEAT one tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat until just smoking.  BROWN the tenderloin for approximately 2 minutes per side, until it is browned all the way around.  TRANSFER pork to a baking dish.  GLAZE the meat.  BAKE on the middle rack at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through until instant read thermometer registers 135 degrees.  TENT the pork with foil, on a separate plate, and let rest for 10 minutes.  SLICE into bite sized pieces.


DRESSING: 
2/3 cup fish sauce (* I decrease this amount slightly, depending on the “fishiness” of the sauce)
1/2 cup warm water
3 limes, squeezed
5 TBSP sugar
1-3 minced thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeds and ribs removed (*depends on your heat preference)
2 crushed garlic cloves
WHISK until sugar dissolves and set aside. 

SALAD: 
3 large carrots, shredded
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (*plus extra for topping) 
1 minced thai, serrano, or jalapeno chile, seeds and ribs removed
8 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
4 cups red or green lettuce, sliced thin
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil (* use Thai basil if you can)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint
TOSS carrots, cucumber, chile, and peanuts with 1/4 cup dressing, set aside.

NOODLES: 
BOIL 4 qts of water, remove from heat.  ADD noodles and let stand until tender, 5-10 minutes.  DRAIN and transfer to a larger bowl.  LAYER with carrot-cucumber mixture, lettuce, herbs.  POUR half of remaining dressing over the mixture and toss to combine.  DIVIDE among four serving bowls, top with pork and additional peanuts.  CHOW down. 
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Filed under international, pork, salad

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