From Martin Yan's Taste of Vietnam, his new PBS series slated for release in September, this salad is an example of the beauty achieved through careful knife work. To turn it into a main dish, just add shredded chicken.
1 pink grapefruit
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise and separated into slivers to make 1/2 cup
1/2 red bell pepper, parallel cut and shredded
1/2 yellow bell pepper, parallel cut and shredded
1 piece English cucumber (3 in.), halved lengthwise and seeded, then parallel cut and shredded
1 small carrot, thinly sliced on a diagonal and shredded
2 1/2 qts. loosely packed mixed baby greens
1 garlic clove, sliced paper thin
4 cilantro sprigs, stems thinly sliced and sprigs chopped
1 Thai or 1/2 serrano chile, sliced paper thin
3 tablespoons ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large Thai basil* leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced crosswise
6 large mint leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced crosswise
How to Make It
Make salad: Cut peel and membrane from grapefruit, following curve of the fruit. Working over a small bowl, cut between inner membranes to release segments (you might want to use a smaller knife here). Squeeze juice from membrane into bowl. Put remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Make dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk garlic, cilantro stems, chile, ponzu, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, and Sriracha until sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk in oil. "Normally you don't use oil in Vietnamese cuisine, but it gives that nice emulsion," says Yan. Stir in basil, mint, chopped cilantro sprigs, and 2 tbsp. grapefruit juice from bowl of segments.
Pour three-quarters of dressing over salad; toss gently. Add more dressing if you like. Lift grapefruit from remaining juice (save it for other uses) and set on salad.
*Find at Asian markets, or use regular basil.
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