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Author Notes: A twist on one of my favorite Vietnamese dish, the vermicelli noodle salad. Charred tomatoes and romaine lettuce adds a nice smokey flavor to the dish, and the spicy and garlicky fish sauce based dressing is refreshing and tangy. —Shao Zhi Zhong
Fish Sauce Dressing (Nuoc Cham) - makes 2 cups
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice, fresh squeezed, about 1.5 to 2 limes
- 1 head of garlic
- 3 bird's eye chili pepper (Thai chili pepper)
- Deseed the bird's eye chili pepper or leave the seeds in if you want the dressing to be extra spicy. Finely mince the garlic and bird's eye chili together. Set aside.
- In a large glass bowl, add the sugar and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolve. Add the minced garlic and chili pepper, cold water, fish sauce, and lime juice. Mix well.
- Chill the dressing for at least 30 minutes. Dressing can be made overnight.
Vermicelli Noodle Salad with Charred Tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce, and Shrimp
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 pound Vietnamese vermicelli noodle (bun giang tay)
- 6 plum tomatoes
- 4 whole romaine lettuce
- 1/4 whole red onion
- 1 bunch mint
- 1 bunch Thai basil
- 1 bunch perilla leaves
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Deshell and devein the shrimps. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Place shrimps in a glass bowl and add fish sauce, olive oil, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well and marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a large pot of water, cook the vermicelli noodles. Strain the noodles in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Drain and set aside.
- Hand tear or roughly chop the mint, Thai basil, perilla leaves, and cilantro. Set the herb mixture aside.
- Thinly slice the red onion. Set aside.
- Slice the plum tomatoes and whole romaine lettuce length wise. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil. Set aside.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle until it is very hot and smokey. Place the tomatoes cut side down. Cook until cut side is charred. About 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
- Wait until skillet is hot again. Place the romaine lettuce cut side down. Cook until cut side is slightly charred. About 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
- Cook the shrimp on the same skillet. About 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- Divide the noodles into 4 servings. Place noodles in large individual serving bowls.
- Chop the charred lettuce into bite size pieces. One half whole lettuce per serving. Place on top of noodles.
- Slice the charred tomatoes lengthwise. Chop into bite size pieces. Three half plum tomatoes per serving. Place on top of noodles.
- Add the shrimp (four per serving), sliced onions, and herb mixture on top of the noodles as well.
- Place fish sauce dressing in four small bowls. Half a cup each bowl. Serve noodles and dressing side by side. Pour dressing on noodles before eating. Mix and enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for A&M Smackdown / Your Best Tomato Recipe