Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thai Seafood Noodle Salad

Bill cooked this up for dinner last night, inspired by the cover recipe on this month's Food and Wine: "a delicious tangle of chewy rice noodles, shrimp, squid and cashews." Fiery hot and satisfyingly full of all the exciting sweet-salty-tangy-herbaceous flavors we crave in Thai food. Mr. Toles was very pleased with himself -- and even more so today -- after the leftovers turned into spicy summer rolls for lunch.
(Photo by Dana Gallagher)

6 ounces rice vermicelli
2 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound bay scallops
1/2 pound small squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings and tentacles halved
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup mint leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup salted roasted cashews
6 lettuce leaves, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for garnish


1. In a medium bowl, cover the vermicelli in cold water and soak for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a mortar, pound the red Thai chiles and garlic cloves to a paste with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, boiling water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and pound until the sugar is dissolved. Let the dressing stand for 30 minutes.
3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook until white throughout and curled, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the ice water. Add the scallops to the boiling water and cook until white and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the scallops to the ice water. Add the squid to the boiling water and cook just until firm, about 45 seconds. Transfer the squid to the ice water. Drain all of the seafood and pat dry.
4. Bring a fresh saucepan of water to a boil and refill the bowl with ice water. Drain the vermicelli, add to the boiling water and cook just until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice water. Drain again and pat dry. Cut the vermicelli into 3-inch lengths.
5. In a large bowl, toss the seafood with the vermicelli, tomatoes, bean sprouts, mint, red onion, cashews and chile dressing. Line a platter with the lettuce leaves and top with the seafood salad. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

MAKE AHEAD All of the components can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated separately. Toss the salad just before serving.

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