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Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for Vietnamese grilled pork and noodle salad with basil-lime dressing

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 6

Like a classic Vietnamese salad, this bowl has a bed of rice noodles topped with bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, and thinly sliced grilled pork loin, and served with a sweet-and-sour garlicky dressing. It’s a refreshing, filling meal-in-one. You can substitute chicken breast, shrimp, or fried tofu slices for the pork. Serve at room temperature.

DRESSING

Juice of 4 limes (to make ½ cup)
¼cup Asian fish sauce
¼cup sugar
5cloves garlic, chopped
½teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
3tablespoons warm water

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1. In a bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, red pepper, and water until the sugar dissolves.

2. Taste for seasoning and add more red pepper, if you like.

SALAD

2boneless pork tenderloins, (about
2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
2tablespoons canola oil
1piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, finely chopped
3tablespoons soy sauce
8ounces thin rice sticks or vermicelli noodles
1large head Boston or leafy lettuce, cored
Canola oil (for the grill)
3cups bean sprouts
4carrots, shredded (to make 2 cups)
1cup firmly packed basil leaves, thinly shredded

1. In a large shallow dish, rub the pork on all sides with canola oil, ginger, and soy sauce. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 30 minutes and for up to 2 hours.

2. Bring a soup pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, swishing them around to break them up. Cook for 3 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Drain in a colander and refresh with cold water; drain again.

3. Stack some of the lettuce leaves and cut into thin strips. Continue cutting until you have about 4 cups.

4. Prepare a charcoal grill or turn a gas grill to medium-hot. Brush the grill rack with canola oil.

5. Set the pork on the grill rack and cover the grill. Cook for 8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 140 degrees. Move the pork away from direct heat and let it sit, covered, for 3 minutes (the temperature of the meat will rise a few degrees). Transfer to a cutting board and slice thinly.

6. On a large platter, arrange the noodles with a slight well in the center. Arrange the lettuce, bean sprouts, and carrots in concentric circles on the noodles. Set the pork slightly mounded in the center and sprinkle with basil. Serve with the dressing.

Nina Simonds

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