At Thai restaurants, Tom Mylan usually requests a double order of larb (or laab), an addictive appetizer of ground meat spiked with chiles, lime juice and fish sauce and served with lettuce leaves for wrapping.
1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced, plus sliced jalapeño for garnish
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Sriracha (chile sauce), plus more for serving
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 large head Boston or other leafy lettuce, separated into leaves
In a bowl, mix the pork, garlic, shallots and minced jalapeño. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and the 1 teaspoon of Sriracha.
In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the pork mixture and cook over high heat, stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl; stir in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the peanuts and sliced jalapeños. Serve with lime wedges, Sriracha and lettuce for wrapping.
Like many southeast-Asian dishes, larb combines sweet, spicy and tangy flavors, making it tough to match with wines unless they're sweet and tangy, too. An off-dry Riesling from Washington state is ideal.