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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad with Grapefruit and Peanuts

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
This is a fantastic main course chilled salad, which can be eaten any old time, but reminds me of spring. If you are a vegetarian it totally works without the shrimp. It’s from my favorite chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who is known for his light touch and his French-Asian influences.

Ingredients
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1 stalk lemongrass
1 large pink grapefruit, sectioned and chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 medium tomato, peeled seeded and chopped
3 scallions minced
1/3 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 small Thai chile, seeds removed and diced or 1 teaspoon dry chile flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
Juice of 5 limes
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
24 medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 tablespoon peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure
Soak the rice noodles in really hot tap water for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water up to boil. Trim the stalk of lemongrass and peel off enough layers to expose the tender core and chop it up really fine, to make 1 tablespoon. In a large bowl, combine the lemongrass, grapefruit, 1/3 cup of peanuts, tomato scallion, mint, and 1/3 cup cilantro. In a small bowl, combine chilies, garlic, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. Taste to adjust seasonings. This dressing is best made in advance and can actually be made a day early. Now drain the noodles from the hot water and plunge them into the boiling water in the pot. As soon as it returns to the boil, drain the noodles in the sink and rinse them in 2 or 3 changes of water. Drain well and toss with dressing and grapefruit mixture. Brush the shrimp with a little oil and salt and pepper and grill them or pan sauté them. Put noodles on plate and top with shrimp and then with remaining cilantro and chopped peanuts.