Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Heart Thai Food

My best friend made a 4 course Thai dinner on Friday night that was out of control. Every dish was so delicious and so flavorful. The best part about Thai food is that it is pleasantly filling. The food is light and the flavors are crisp so a 4 course dinner won't put you to sleep and make you feel too guilty. We'll post pics from the dinner this week but the recipe below (featured on May's cover of Food & Wine) was her second course.
Thai Seafood Noodle Salad
6 ounces rice vermicelli
2 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound bay scallops
1/2 pound small squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings and tentacles halved
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup mint leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
6 lettuce leaves, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
In a medium bowl, cover the vermicelli in cold water and soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mortar, pound the red Thai chiles and garlic cloves to a paste with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, boiling water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and pound until the sugar is dissolved. Let the dressing stand for 30 minutes.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook until white throughout and curled, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the ice water. Add the scallops to the boiling water and cook until white and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the scallops to the ice water. Add the squid to the boiling water and cook just until firm, about 45 seconds. Transfer the squid to the ice water. Drain all of the seafood and pat dry.

Bring a fresh saucepan of water to a boil and refill the bowl with ice water. Drain the vermicelli, add to the boiling water and cook just until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice water. Drain again and pat dry. Cut the vermicelli into 3-inch lengths.

In a large bowl, toss the seafood with the vermicelli, tomatoes, bean sprouts, mint, red onion, peanuts and chile dressing. Line a platter with the lettuce leaves and top with the seafood salad. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

MAKE AHEAD All of the components can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated separately. Toss the salad just before serving.
WINE Because Thai recipes combine so many flavors, they tend to pair best with adaptable wines like Spanish AlbariƱo, known for its perky acidity, medium body and depth of citrusy flavor. Two bottlings to look for are the minerally 2006 Bodegas Fillaboa and the citrusy 2006 Vionta.


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