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.
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.