'You need to make this salad!' Coming from my man, those words make my cook's heart sing. He's not really the salad type, you see, and the prospect of nagging him to eat his greens for the sake of his wellbeing doesn't sit well. But, every now and then we stumble upon a salad that he loves. And when that happens, I'm so there!
We first tasted this salad at Sister's Rock restaurant, at Borrodell Vineyard in Orange and it was there that Peter uttered those magical words I mentioned above. Chef, Alan Meaney, was genuinely delighted to share the recipe (thank you!) and it's become a favourite at home. Of course, I've made a couple of adjustments to suit our tastes, including the use of a little palm sugar syrup in the dressing, and scaling down the quantities for the non-commercial cook. It's the perfect accompaniment to one of our favourite Vietnamese beef dishes, Shaking Beef or Bo Luc Lac, but also sits nicely as a crunchy and colourful luncheon salad. You can use either wild rice, red rice or a combination.
WILD RICE, SNOW PEA AND BELL PEPPER SALAD
1/2 cup cooked wild rice or red rice
1 cup snow peas, topped and tailed, blanched, sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper or capsicum, sliced into thin strips
1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and de-tailed
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently with your hands so that there's a vibrant arrangement of colour. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss through the dressing before serving. Serves 2-4.
For the dressing:
100ml fish sauce
100ml fresh lime juice
1 small bird's eye chilli, finely chopped (to taste)
25g palm sugar, finely chopped or a few teaspoons of palm sugar syrup, to taste
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jug and whisk to combine. Taste the dressing, and add more lime juice or palm sugar/syrup to suit your tastebuds. Pour over the salad when you are ready to serve it.
SHAKING BEEF (BO LUC LAC)*
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
11/2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
600g beef fillet steak, sliced into 2cm strips
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil, for cooking
snow pea sprigs, to serve
fresh cherry tomatoes, halved, to serve
Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, caster sugar and garlic in a Pyrex bowl. Add the beef slices and stir. Season with pepper. Cover and set aside for up to one hour to marinate. (If you are running short of time, you can marinate for 10 minutes or so).
Heat your wok over high heat. Add half the oil and heat until you see 'the breath of the wok' (i.e. the wok is smoking). Cook the beef a little at a time, shaking the wok, for 1-2 minutes until the beef is nicely browned on the outside but medium rare on the inside. Transfer the beef strips to a serving platter and keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef, reheating the wok between batches. You can also stir fry some French eschalot and add this to the beef strips. Top with the bean sprouts and sliced cherry tomatoes. Serve with the salad on the side. Serves 2-4.
* Recipe adapted from Taste.com.au
Tell me dear readers, do you have to encourage your loved ones to 'eat their greens'? Do please share your strategies. And thank you so much for taking the time to pop in and comment. I really do love to hear from you. Bizzy xox
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.