September 19, 2008

Pork & Cellophane Noodle Salad

8 to 10 oz cellophane noodles*
2 thick cut pork chops or about 8 oz of pork tenderloin
1 thin skinned, low seed cucumber, cut into strips
2 carrots, cut into strips
1 bunch scallion, diced
1 bunch baby bok choy or Shanghai cabbage, chopped

for the marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice (I actually used key limes)
1 clove garlic, sliced

for the dressing:
1 Thai chile, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice (again, I actually used key limes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon agave nectar

Marinade the pork for about 30 minutes. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the pork and cook thoroughly, flipping once, about 10 minutes. If the chops are very thick, cover the pan for a few minutes of the cooking time. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions. Add the bok choy in to the water/noodles during the last minute of soaking. Drain. I actually put it all my beloved salad spinner and spun it dry. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Slice the pork into thin strips. Toss with noodles, bok choy, carrots, cucumber and dressing. Serve cool.

*also known as vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, or glass noodles, they always make Mister Cellophane get stuck in my head.


Note: You might have noticed that I actually used my crinkle cutter instead of slicing the vegetables. It is just as easy as using a knife and since the salad is so simple, it added some extra visual interest. Totally unnecessary though.

Yield: 2-4 servings

My thoughts:
I always find making dinner in September a daunting task. Some days it is as hot as July and on others it is downright chilly. Salad can be a perfect choice but tomato season is waning so I can't muster up too much enthusam for a leafy salad. Instead, I opt for salads like this, hardy but not heavy and boasts juicy meat and crisp vegetables. It is perfect for a hot day or one with a bit of a nip in the air.

This is another recipe that is truly more than the sum of its parts. It is a complete meal that goes from raw ingredients to finished product in under 15 minutes-perfect for a busy weeknight. The dressing is divine-be careful to really mince that pepper though, you don't want an unsuspecting diner to get a big chunk of one of them, they are pretty fiery-and just coats the noodles with flavor. Using pork chops is a great short cut, they cook quickly and stay juicy even when thoroughly cooked. This salad holds up well overnight so you might want to make a bit extra to have for lunch the next day.

If you like this you might also enjoy:

Cold Black Rice Noodle Salad with Mixed Vegetables

Superlative Sesame Noodles

Swiss Chard, Beef, Tofu & Shrimp Summer Rolls