My nephew and his wife are going to have a baby, a GIRL baby. My sister Robin, is beside herself with joy and anticipation, having had three boys of her own and two boy grandchildren so far. She asked me to cater a luncheon to celebrate the "mom to be". We wanted to do a refreshing, bright, summer salad so I reached back into my tried and true, favorite salad recipes (from Alchemy, way back when, and Wren Café) and came across this one! I know some of you will remember it well. Tangy, a bit spicy and really refreshing with fresh mint and cilantro...it's perfect for a summer party of any kind.
'Open Sesame' Thai Salad
1 red bell pepper, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 small red cabbage, quartered and sliced thinly
1 Napa cabbage, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
1/4 c cilantro, chopped coarsely
12 mint leaves, stacked, rolled tightly and sliced thinly across into a chiffonade or simply chopped
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 carrots, julienned on a mandoline or sliced thinly
1-2 c mung bean sprouts
1 c celery, sliced thinly across the stalk (optional)
1 pkg Maifun rice noodles (place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, allowing them to sit and soften for 10 minutes, drain and set aside)
8 c mixed baby lettuces for a base
1# poached or roasted chicken torn into strips or chunked (or tofu cut into chunks)
1/2 c roasted, salted peanuts, chopped coarsely for garnish
Prepare all veggies and herbs and toss together in a bowl. To assemble, place greens on a plate, top with rice noodles and a handful of the veggie mix. Add the torn chicken breast or tofu chunks in and around the veggies, Ladle 1 oz of dressing over the entire salad and top with chopped peanuts. Garnish with extra mint or cilantro if you like. Serves 8.
1/4 c garlic, chopped finely (I drop through the feed tube of a food processor)
1/4 c fresh ginger, peeled & chopped finely (I drop through the feed tube of a food processor)
2 t dried chile flakes
2 c rice wine vinegar
3/4 c sugar
3 oz sesame oil
1/4 c olive oil
2 t salt
Mix everything together, stirring to combine. Makes about 3 1/2 cups. This is more than you will need for the 8 salads but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks and would make a great marinade for chicken or pork and a great dipping sauce for potstickers or spring rolls.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"