I have a serious weak spot for crispy, delicate asian salads. At every visit to this lovely part of the world I do my best to eat my way through the various kinds – and at this point of time there is no doubt what my favourite version is! To me the magic happens when you combine crispy and fresh vegetables, cut as thinly and delicate as possible, with soft tender dark meat, roasted nuts, spicy flavours, sour n’ sweet dressing and a huge load of fresh herbs.
I have had troubles finding a real authentic and gooood salad here in Denmark. But last year I was lucky to visit a very authentic vietnamese restaurant here in Copenhagen – where all the food was prepared and cooked just as I remember it from my backpacking days in Vietnam. After trying their rosa beef salad I was completely sold – and the amount of mint and coriander melted my heart…no need to say this has become one of my favourite restaurants in the city!
So obviously there is now no excuse to not take the take-away-wonder to a home cooked level! I have done my fair share of investigation and have now come up with a rather classic and easy peasy salad that even fit a little into the nordic christmas theme.
I the honour of the holiday I have used a duck breast instead to beef, but feel free to use beef, chicken, fish and egg – its is your call and result will be lovely regardless! Again with the vegetables you can choose and pick, but I added seasonal and cheap kinds as carrot, cabbage and spring onion, all with a fresh and crispy texture. The dressing is a pretty important element – so try to stick to the recipe and the same goes with the herbs, even though it seems as a whole lot of green stuff…do it it is what gives the flavour and makes it authentic!
So If you like me love christmas but need a little fresh and green in between the heavy courses this meal is perfect – and it is easy to prepare and fills your body with nutrients and exotic vibes.
Vietnamese style duck salad with crispy greens and fresh herbs
1 duck breast (+ 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp soya)
1 handful of bean sprouts
A chunk of cabbage (around 1 cup when chopped)
2-3 spring onions
1 mild (or stronger) red chili
2 handful fresh mint
2 handful fresh coriander
100 g rice noodles + boiling water
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 red chill, very finely chopped
A handful salty peanuts, chopped
2-4 tbsp fried shallots (can be bought an asian groceries)
Start by preparing the duck breast. Use a sharp knife to lightly score the skin of the duck breast, cut away the extra fat on the sides and rub salt into it. Place the breast on a cold pan with the skin side downwards and turn on the pan on medium-high heat. Cook until the fat starts to come from the duck, fry the breast 6-8 min on each side. When the breast is almost done spread the honey on the crispy skin and pour on the soya, fry the breast just another minute while the marinade seasons the meat. Set the breast aside to sit for 3-4 minutes before thinly slicing it.
While the duck is frying you can prepare the salad. Pour boiling water onto the rice noodles, let them soak for 5 minutes and then poor on cold water. Use a mandolin or a very sharp knife to thinly slice the cabbage, and the carrot (a julienne peeler is very useful on the carrots as well). Use a knife to thinly slice the spring onions and chop the herbs. Mix together all ingredients for the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the dressing, top with duck and additional topping before serving.