Spring Roll Salad Recipe
There are just twenty ingredients between you and heaven. Seems like sort of a lot, doesn't it? It's not. This noodle salad is worth it. In fact, I would bet that most of you have at least half the ingredients in your pantry right now.
Myra Kornfeld's salad is inspired by one of my favorite things to eat, the Vietnamese spring roll. This salad is a bright and fresh spring roll - without the wrapper. A familiar chorus of flavors - sweet, sour, tangy, hot, and nutty all projected onto a mound of serpentine rice noodles. The mushrooms, well, just look at the mushrooms - crispy, delicious, concentrated oven-baked perfection. If you've never had shiitake this way before, you must.
Oven Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms
In practical terms, creating this salad translates into trips to multiple stores to collect ingredients, and then another hour or so of prep before you can make your winged ascent into gustatory bliss. Think of the required tamarind concentrate as the holy grail in your culinary ingredient quest.
Take solace because you will have plenty of leftover ingredients from this go-around, and the next time you have an itch for noodle salad everything will come together much more quickly. As with anything worth doing, the first time is always the toughest. For those of you who are time pressed, you can certainly make components of this recipe over the course of a couple of days. I imagine the tangy, sweet, tamarind splash will be even better a day or two later as the flavors really begin to meld. Same goes for the rich and spicy coconut milk peanut sauce.
I was excited see Myra's much anticipated follow-up to her first book finally on the shelf of my local book store. The recipes look diverse, flavorful, and a big bonus for me is that she uses a pantry very similar in spirit and philosophy to my own. Can't wait to explore more of this book.
Spring Roll Salad Recipe with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu
4 ounces (4 cups loosely packed) fettucine-style rice noodles
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Tamarind Dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375.
Cut the stems off the shiitakes and discard them (or save them for stock). Thinly slice the caps; you should have 5 cups. Toss the shiitakes in a bowl with the olive oil and shoyu. Then spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet and transfer it to the oven. Roast, stirring twice, until the mushrooms are shrunken, browned, and fairly crisp, about 40 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and set it aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the noodles, and let them sit until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, and rinse the noodles for at least 30 seconds under cold water to prevent sticking.
Toss the noodles in a bowl with the carrots and herbs. Mound a portion of noodles on each plate, and drizzle the dipping sauce and the peanut sauce over the top. Sprin- kle with the mushrooms and peanuts.
Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce
This versatile peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. It's great on a variety of dishes. Heat the sauce or serve it at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon shoyu
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Place the shallots on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast until they are very tender and the juices have started to ooze out, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the shallots cool slightly, and then squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Place the shallot pulp and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated for up to a week. Warm before serving.
Makes 2 cups.
Tamarind Dipping Sauce
This tangy sauce takes ouly a few minutes to make and complements the sweet and spicy peanut sauce, making the noodles come alive with flavor.
2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane juice
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely slivered seeded red serrano or ThaI bird chile
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and warm over medium heat until the sngar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice, tamarind concentrate, and shoyu, stirring until smooth. Let the mixture cool slighdy, and then stir in the cilantro, garlic, and chile. The sauce should be tangy and slightly sour. The sauces will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
Makes 1/2 cup.