Lately my favorite new recipes have come about because of one random ingredient that I happen to have leftover from something else. This time it was vermicelli noodles that the Man bought the last time I sent him grocery shopping, which was for my Red Curry Soup. In fact he also went grocery shopping for the remaining ingredients for this recipe… He has been earning some serious grocery store bonus points.
I wasn’t planning to cook dinner—Sunday was the Academy Awards, and for some reason I love getting takeout on Oscar night. But the box of vermicelli noodles was calling my name. I am a total sucker for noodles with tangy peanut sauce and herbs, so I decided to make a rice noodle salad. And the fact that it involves minimal cooking and even less mess was an additional selling point... Broiling shrimp in the oven is a great way to prevent splatter all over your stove and counter. And freshly chopped veggies and quickly sautéed bok choy both have some crunch, and compliment each other well. Dumping a whole pile of mint, cilantro and scallions on top doesn't hurt either!
This salad was the perfect Oscar night solution, but would also be great for any weeknight with a time crunch. Or bring it to a potluck, as it can be assembled ahead, eaten cold and would transport well. And am I allowed to say that the shrimp and carrots with all of the green herbs make the dish quite pretty?
ASIAN SHRIMP VERMICELLI SALAD WITH PEANUT SAUCE
12 shrimp, shells removed and deveined (tails on)
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
3 multicolored carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 handfuls cilantro, chopped
1.5 ounces fresh mint, chopped
3 scallions, sliced at a diagonal (white and green parts)
6 heads baby bok choy, sliced into strips
8 ounces brown rice vermicelli (I used Annie Chun’s)
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sesame seeds, for serving
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon sesame oil
6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
juice of 1.5 limes
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
a large dash of cayenne pepper
Set a pot of water on the stove to boil, and preheat the oven to broil. Toss the shrimp with olive oil, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on a sheet pan in a single layer, and set aside.
Make the peanut sauce by whisking together the ginger, garlic, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, Bragg’s and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
Combine the cucumber and carrot sticks in a small bowl, and set aside. Combine the cilantro, mint and scallions in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the the shrimp into the oven, and cook until opaque. While they cook, add a splash of olive oil and the bok choy to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté for a few minutes until slightly tender, then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, add the vermicelli to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain, and toss with the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil.
Assemble by placing a scoop of noodles onto a plate. Top with bok choy, a couple spoonfuls of the carrots and cucumbers, and a generous serving of the herbs. Add three shrimp around the plate, and drizzle with peanut sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.