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Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.
Today: The only logical end to a scorching summer day is a reward of cold noodles.
This noodle salad, based on the Vietnamese vermicelli variety, has a brilliant, surprising flavor, especially for something so simple. Even though it has more ingredients than I regularly use -- whisking together a homemade nuoc nam is a cinch, but does take a tablespoon of this and a tablespoon of that -- none of them can be skipped.
Brimming with crisp and sweet summer vegetables and herbs, this chilled noodle salad is the kind of bowl I want to tuck into for dinner after my shirt has been stuck to my back all day. I think of it as my summer vegetable-and-noodle reward.
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar or agave nectar
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1 spicy chile, chopped
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups shredded leftover roasted chicken, either store-bought rotisserie or homemade
2 cups sliced cucumber
1 cup finely grated carrot
1 cup grated golden beets
3 cups mixed herb leaves, like cilantro, basil, and mint
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way.
Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.
Photo by Caroline Wright