Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodle Salad

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The most recent Gastro Non Grata event at Triple Rock Social Club featured samplings of Chef Heather Hartman’s Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodle Salad — tender pieces of pork on a bed of cabbage and herbs with vermicelli noodles and dressed with a light and tangy lemongrass dressing. Better yet, they served it with samples of Rush River‘s Small Axe, a citrusy summer ale.

Chef Hartman (of Spoonriver and Cafe Brenda) shares her recipe for her salad below, perfect for the hot summer days ahead.

Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodle Salad
serves four to five as main dishes

2 stalks lemongrass (use bottom 3 inches, after removing tough bottom stem — peel to reveal inner stalk)
3 kaffir lime leaves
¼ c fish sauce
¼ c fresh lime juice
1 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp chili paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
⅔ c vegetable oil

In a blender, place all ingredients except for the oil. Blend to a puree. Slowly add oil while blender is running to create an emulsified dressing. Dressing will last in fridge, tightly covered, for 3 days. Shake well before using.

1 pork tenderloin (about 2 lbs)

To marinate the pork, use 4 tbsp of the lemongrass dressing and rub onto the pork. Let sit at room temperature to marinate for 15 minutes. Grill pork and set aside.

1 package rice vermicelli noodles — cook as directed or for about 5 minutes in salted, boiling water. Rise with cold water and set aside.
4 c Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
½ c cilantro leaves
½ c thai basil leaves
½ c mint leaves
½ c peanuts, toasted and crushed
lime wedges for garnish (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together the herbs and the cabbage. For serving, place the cabbage mixture in individual shallow bowls. Add a handful of rice noodles and then the pork. Drizzle generously with the lemongrass dressing; garnish with peanuts and serve with a lime wedge.

* For many of these ingredients, Chef Hartman recommends United Noodles in Minneapolis.