It's always about the meat, isn't it? The two three-day weekends that flank the summer, Memorial Day and Labor Day, are often celebrated by outdoor barbecues, making the protein the centerpiece.
But I discovered a salad so tart, so sweet, so exotic, that it's impossible to eat without gushing over it. The almighty hot dog needs to take a seat.
Right now, the markets are spilling over with pyramids of ripe yellow peaches, in season and dripping with sweetness. You have to savor it while it lasts. Mixing fruit into a salad isn't a new concept, but the Vietnamese-style dressing on this dish makes it instantly exotic - and so do the peaches!
If you don't like being the center of attention, beware taking this to a barbecue on Labor Day! Here's what to do...
Vietnamese Peach Salad
- A head of lettuce (could be romaine, butter or a bunch of arugula - spring mix is too soft)
- 3 peaches (any type)
- One cup of fresh chopped mint
- 1/4 cup of crushed peanuts, (salted & roasted)
- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus one tbsp
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 large shallot
- 1/4 cup lime juice (lemon works in a pinch)
- 1 grated garlic clove
- 1/2 Fresno chile, thinly-sliced (hopefully you can find one - if not, Anaheim chiles work)
- Chop the shallot finely
- Take the 1/3 cup of oil and sauté the shallot until golden brown
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the shallots, lay on a paper towel
- While the shallots are cooking, whisk the following in a bowl: lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, 1 tbsp oil, garlic, and chile - and whisk until the sugar is dissolved
- Slice peaches into thin rounds, and marinate them with three tablespoons of the lime juice mixture for about five minutes
- On a serving plate, layer chopped lettuce, marinated peach slices, then mint on top.
- Then, top the salad with the fried shallots, pour over the remaining lime juice mixture, then finish with the crushed peanuts