Okay, we’re officially on a Vietnamese cooking roll – heaps of herbs, tasty morsels from the grill, and platefuls of fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to eat like this forever. Being at the peak of our short summer, fruit is especially something to eat up while the season lasts. But don’t you feel like fruit gets pushed to sidelines of main meals – snacks, desserts and breakfasts – how do you work in more? I remember making a papaya and chicken salad not too long ago, and I thought – can we take the fruit and meat concept further – so I made this Vietnamese Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing?
I sliced the fruit and made a dressing of coconut milk and peanut butter. I cut the mixture with just a bit of umami from fish sauce and hint of heat from red chili. I garnished the masterpiece with herbs crushed roasted peanuts (not pictured). Then, I did the unthinkable. I served the salad with jasmine rice and a plate of lime and lemongrass marinated beef strips
I wouldn’t say go ahead and slap bananas on your next steak. Think of pairing flavors and complementary textures – citrus meat marinade, creamy and earthy salad dressing, soft rice, the sweetness of the fruit with a just hint of acidity. Sometimes old conventions have to broken to discover unexpected treats.
- 4 ripe apricots, pitted and segmented
- 2 bananas, cut in half and sliced into lengthwise strips
- 1 large mango, cut into ¼ inch strips
- ¼ cup reduced fat coconut milk
- ½ tsp fish sauce
- 1 heaping tsp unsalted peanut butter
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 1 red Thai chili, finely sliced
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed
- mint and thai basil
- Combine the dressing and the fruit, garnish with roasted peanuts, garnish with herbs.