Almost Summer Rice Noodle Salad
1 lb. thin rice noodles
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar, to taste
1 to 2 hot chilies (red bird, jalapeno, or serrano), seeded and minced, or to taste
6 - 8 cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
1 onion from your box, thinly sliced
2 carrots from your box, peeled and shredded or julienned
1/2 cup broccoli florets, cut into very small pieces
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 grilled or roasted chicken breasts, shredded (optional, or substitute baked tofu or shrimp)
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water and set aside in a large bowl.
Place the garlic cloves in a food processor (or a blender) and pulse to mince. Add the fish sauce, water, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and chilies and puree them together. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the dressing into a serving bowl and set it on the table.
Toss the vegetables and cilantro with the noodles and mound the mixture onto a platter. Scatter the chicken, tofu or shrimp and the peanuts over the top, and serve. Spoon dressing over the top after it is served.