I am fortunate to live near a number of Vietnamese restaurants serving up heaping bowls of pho and other dishes from that region of the world. I'm a big fan of a dish called "Bun" (my apologies if I'm not spelling that right) and have been holding on this recipe from my friend Nick's blog (www.macheesmo.com) for a time when I was hankering for some Vietnamese food but not wanting to leave the house to get it. This Sunday was one of those days and I'm so grateful my friend Jeanine came over to help me eat this. I'll be eating it for lunch the rest of the week-for the record, it is really good cold.
While it seems like there are a lot of steps involved, it really is a pretty easy dish to make. The one bit of advice I would give is to be sure to use fresh herbs as indicated below. It really does make the dish and the dried variety just won't cut it.
Vietnamese Pork Noodle Salad (serves 6-8 people)
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced into 1/8 inch medallions. Marinate in the following:
- 1/4 Cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 Cup fish sauce
- 2 TB brown sugar
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 3 limes, juice only
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 bird or Serrano chilis (I used 2 jalapenos)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large carrots, grated (or you can be lazy and buy pre-cut carrot slivers)
- 1 large cucumber, peeled seeds and cut into match sticks
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1 chili pepper, or a jalapeno
- 8 oz dried rice noodles, vermicelli style (the smallest kind)
- 4 cups red and/or green lettuce, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup fresh mint
Directions:For dressing, dice peppers and garlic and whisk with other dressing ingredients. Set aside for later.
To prep pork, freeze pork loin for 15 minutes or so and then slice it 1/8 inch thin. Add medallions to marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Peel carrots and cucumbers and remove seeds from cucumbers. Run them both through a box grater. Add peanuts, chili peppers and 1/2 cup of dressing and it marinate.
Chop lettuce and herbs and set aside.
Cook rice noodles according to package.
To cook pork, lay medallions out on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cook under the broiler on high for 6-10 minutes until the pork is caramelized on the edges and cooked through. Be careful not to overcook it.
Finish salad by layering noodles, then carrot slaw, then lettuce and herbs. Add pork to the top and pour on dressing, leaving some so people can add it on individually.
Before serving, toss salad together to combine ingredients and dressing well.