To create completely satisfying dishes, Thai cooks aim for a mix of sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors. In his salad, chef Laurent Tourondel of the BLT Steak empire achieves that alluring combination by tossing tart green mango with cucumbers, a myriad of fresh herbs, a vibrant Thai dressing and plenty of delicate, sweet crabmeat.
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1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Thai red chiles, minced
3 carrots, finely julienned
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek or other Asian hot sauce (optional)
1/3 cup water
2 large green mangos (about 1 pound each), peeled and finely julienned
2 seedless cucumbers—peeled, seeded and finely julienned
Two 6-ounce bunches watercress, thick stems discarded
1/2 cup shredded basil leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 pound jumbo lump crab
3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar with 1/4 cup of the sugar and half of the garlic and chiles. Add the carrots and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the lime and tangerine juices, shallot, fish sauce, sambal oelek and water. Stir in the remaining garlic, chiles and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
In a very large bowl, combine the green mango, cucumbers, watercress, basil, mint and cilantro. Drain the carrots, shaking off the excess liquid, and add them to the bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Transfer the salad to plates and mound the crab on top. Garnish with the scallions and serve.