Yield
Serves 4; doubles easily
Time
20 minutes, plus 3 hours rest and drain for cucumbers prep, 3 hours 20 minutes total

Those addictive Southeast Asian noodle salads usually star Asia’s crisp, sweet/tart green papaya or mango. So why not use our own summer peaches or nectarines? When they’re firm and slightly underripe but still fragrant, they’re ideal for salads like this.

Light, cool and refreshing, it’s perfect summertime food as not a lick of heat is needed to make it. It’s a good foil for Ginger Hoisin Summer Shrimp.

Make the dressing a couple of days ahead and refrigerate, but use it at room temperature. The salad can be assembled hours ahead and refrigerated, but dress it shortly before setting it out.

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin strips

Salad:

  • 2 to 3 medium to large slightly underripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and sliced into 3-inch by 1/2-inch sticks
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 large stalks bok choy cabbage, or 1/4 of a medium green cabbage, cut into 1/8-inch strips
  • 1 small carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler into strips
  • 8 whole scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 to 2 fresh Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, or to taste
  • 1/2 pound vermicelli (thin) rice noodles, soaked in very hot water to cover until soft (about 8 minutes), rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup each coriander and spearmint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews or peanuts

Instructions

1. Make the dressing. In a medium bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients, tasting for sweet-tart balance. Let the onions soak in the sauce.

2. Make the salad. In a large bowl, combine the peaches with the lime juice and the rest of the salad ingredients except the herbs and nuts. Chill until about 20 minutes before serving. Then toss the salad with the dressing and onions. Heap on a platter and scatter with the herbs and nuts.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.