One of my favorite summer meals is the Rice Noodle Salad from Lynne Rossetto Kasper. It requires little stove time, can be made with any number of veggies either raw or cooked, and tastes very fresh and cooling, especially on super hot days. You might also try adding thinly sliced sugarsnap peas, julienned carrots, and really any seasonal summer greens- I used Chinese cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, garlic scapes, and spinach in mine. Don’t be afraid of the fish sauce; it’s what gives this dish its depth of flavor – and the way it combines with the other ingredients is kind of magical. You can find it in most grocery stores these days. Enjoy!
Summer Rice Noodle Salad
- 1 pound thick vermicelli rice noodles (about the thickness of a linguine pasta)
- 4 quarts boiling water
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 2 T. brown sugar, or to taste
- Sriracha chili sauce to taste
- ½ small head Napa Cabbage, thin sliced
- 8 whole scallions, thin sliced
- handful of garlic scapes, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- handful of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and sautéed in oil
- handful spinach leaves, thin sliced
- ¼ cup tight-packed cilantro, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup tight-packed mint, coarsely chopped
- 2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced thinly or shredded
- 1 cup salted peanuts or cashews, coarsely chopped
Cook rice noodles in boiling water according to package instructions, or until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and set back in the bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in blender or food processor. Taste for chile, and sweet/tart balance. Pour into a serving bowl and set on table.
Toss vegetables and herbs with noodles. Mound on a large platter. Scatter with chicken or and peanuts. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.