Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork Patties

I got a new toy for taking food photos! A light kit! I'm all grown-up! Now I have no more excuses for bad blog photos except my own lack of skill. Which is breathtaking in its expansiveness. This may not bode well for you people as I fall back on stolen pictures from the internets to patch up my shortcomings.

Gotta admit, it's way more awesome than a picture of pork patties.
I got it all set up in the kitchen last night, and honestly, I probably could have picked a better starting dish for this, given my inability to style food. There's lots of light brown in this dish, which doesn't make for a very compelling photo. But it's still a delicious dinner, so let's plow on ahead, shall we?

We've had warm weather lately, and the heavy roasted stuff is starting to drag me down. The other day I was messing around on Pinterest and decided to start a board of my favorite Fine Cooking recipes. Turns out, it was a good idea, because I rediscovered a lot of dishes I'd forgotten about, this one included. This is a great light but filling dinner with flavors that are not standard winter-roasted-meat-and-potatoes fare. This is an adaptation of their recipe. Yes, theirs is probably better, but parts of it were a little too fussy and I didn't have all the ingredients (again).

Pull out some soba noodles and put a pot of salted water on to boil. Then make the dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham). I didn't have any peppers, so I used Sriracha sauce, because that stuff is the bomb. I sweated three minced garlic cloves in a little olive oil (because y'all know I can't stand that stuff raw), mixed it with a teaspoon of Sriracha, 1/4 cup of fish sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. I mooshed the garlic up a little in a mortar and pestle a little, then whisked all that together and set it aside.

Next were the pork patties. Mix a pound of ground pork with 5 small green onions, thinly sliced, a teaspoon and a half of fish sauce, (that stuff stinks to high heaven, but it tastes great), 2 tsp. of sugar and a generous pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Form that into patties about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inches thick.

While I was fussing with all this, Pootie was keeping me company. He's started P90X2, and this was Recovery and Mobility day, so he was using the foam roller to work out some kinks. Dinky decided since he was on the floor, he must be down there for snuggles, so he "helped out".

It degenerated into full on floor love pretty fast. He's hard to resist.
While they were wallowing around, I boiled the noodles and preheated the grill to medium-high, then assembled the salad. I tossed together some shredded romained lettuce, about a cup of chopped fresh mint, a cup of chopped fresh cilantro, and 1/2 cup of thinly sliced carrot.

Then I stopped and watched more wallowing.

By then, the noodles were ready. Just a note - when you drain these guys, toss them with a little olive oil before you set them aside, otherwise you'll just wind up with a big solid blob of starch. I ran outside and flipped over the pork patties, then came back in to this.

They don't like each other one little bit.
I'm really not sure how effective Pootie's roller massage was.

The patties were done in about 6 minutes. I stuck them in the dipping sauce to soak for about five minutes, then assembled the rest of the dish. Put the noodles in the middle, then top with the pork patties, and drizzle with the rest of the dipping sauce. You may not need all of it, depending on how much you want your salad dressed.

At this point, I got my husband up off the floor, asked him to dust off the dog hair- prefereably not over the platter - and dinner was served!

If you'd like to give this one a try while your spouse wallows on the floor with your pet, here is the .pdf.

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