Vietnamese Salad with Chile-Mint Dressing


Associate Test Kitchen Director Marcia Kiesel's fascination with Vietnamese food led to the creation of this salad, which is composed in the Vietnamese style, with a little meat and a lot of vegetables. If you want to double the meat, cook it in 2 pans and double the dressing too.

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  1. 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4 -inch strips
  2. 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  3. 2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
  4. 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  5. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  6. 1/3 cup water
  7. 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  9. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded mint
  10. 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  11. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  14. 2 large white turnips, peeled and shredded
  15. 2 large carrots, shredded
  16. 3 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
  17. 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  18. 1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, toss the pork with half of the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the peanut oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is dry and deep brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the water with the remaining garlic and the vinegar, lime juice, chopped mint, fish sauce, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper.
  4. In a bowl, toss the turnips with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. In another bowl, toss the carrots with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of peanut oil over high heat. Add the pork strips in an even layer and cook, without stirring, until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the skillet and stir to coat the meat. Transfer the meat to a plate and let cool.
  6. In a bowl, toss the lettuce, cabbage, shredded mint and pork. Add the remaining dressing and any excess dressing from the turnips and carrots. Arrange the turnips and carrots on opposite sides of each plate and mound the pork salad in the center. Sprinkle the browned onion and chopped peanuts over all and serve.