Jean-Georges Vongerichten was inspired to create this dish, now at Spice Market in Manhattan, after a nine-city tour through Asia. The papaya, cashews and dressing of julienned ginger and chiles are pure Thai. Tossing them with French frisée is pure Vongerichten.
Terrific Green Salads
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
3 cups packed frisée lettuce (4 1/2 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces
2 ripe 3/4-pound papayas—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 canned whole water chestnuts, drained and cut into thin rounds or 2 ounces jicama, peeled and cut into 1-by-1 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup salted roasted cashews
2 tablespoons finely julienned fresh ginger
How to Make It
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the shallot, carrot, bell pepper and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is softened, about 7 minutes. Add the lime juice, vinegar, brown and granulated sugars and chili oil and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender and puree. Season with salt.
In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderately high heat until golden, about 40 seconds; let cool. In a large bowl, toss the frisée with the papayas, water chestnuts, cashews and ginger. Add about 1/3 cup of the dressing and toss to coat. Mound the salad on plates, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.
Any extra dressing can be used with other assertive greens like arugula, or it can be used as a sauce for grilled chicken, shrimp or full-flavored fish.
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