We spent the last few days visiting San Francisco and what a great trip it was! Having lived in San Francisco for a year, I was excited to show my boyfriend around some of my favourite city haunts: a walk along the Embarcadero, the Saturday morning market at the Ferry Building, an afternoon street fair along Union Street, a butt-firming walk up and down Lombard Street, a few glasses of wine enjoyed on a sunny patio along Chestnut Street and some great restaurants!
A highlight of the weekend, foodwise that is, was our dinner reservations at Slanted Door on Friday night. Slanted Door serves modern Vietnamese fare. The colours, the flavours, the presentation and the atmosphere were top notch. Although it was not on the menu at Slanted Door, here is my take on a Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Salad Bowl.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest (approximately ½ a lime)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons shredded carrot
- 1 cup english cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1½ cup grated carrots
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli (1/2 a bag)
- 4 cups boiling water
- ½ cup chopped cilantro*
- ¼ cup green onion, sliced
- ¼ cup peanuts, chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Cut the chicken into ¼ inch slices and place the chicken strips on a wooden cutting board between two layers of parchment paper.
- Using a meat mallet, a rolling pin or other hard non-breakable kitchen utensil, pound the chicken strips flat.
- Combine the remaining ingredients for the lemongrass chicken in a medium sized bowl and add the chicken. Mix together and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in medium sized skillet and layer half of the chicken strips in the pan. Saute for 3 minutes and turn over with a spatula. Saute for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.
- While the chicken is marinating, whisk together the garlic, red chili flakes, sugar, lime juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, water and shredded carrot. Divide evenly into four portions and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring four (or more) cups of water to a boil and add the rice vermicelli. Remove from the heat and let it sit for eight minutes, until softened. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
- To assemble the salad bowls, divide the salad bowl ingredients evenly into four bowls, layering the salad bowl ingredients as follows: cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli, lemongrass chicken, cilantro, green onion and peanuts.
- To serve, provide each guest with a portion of sauce which they can dump over their salad bowl.