Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp

The first time Alex and I tried this recipe, we were a little skeptical.  We were worried that the dressing wouldn't have enough time to really give the shrimp and noodles the depth of flavor we wanted because it doesn't get mixed in until everything else is already cooked.  Boy were we wrong.  This dressing packs a punch and a little spooned on at the end goes a long way.  The dressing gives the shrimp and the noodles a wonderful lime-y, salty, spicy flavor.  When you toss the rice noodles and vegetables with the dressing, the noodles soak up those wonderful flavors, while the vegetables remain fresh and crisp.  It is a beautiful combination of tastes and textures.  If you're really in a rush you could just as easily purchase pre-cooked shrimp and use them instead of roasting the shrimp yourself.  Actually, the recipe as written in Bon Appetit called for pre-cooked, rather than raw shrimp.  Then it's just a matter of cooking some rice noodles - which only takes about 5 minutes, and chopping up some vegetables.  If you use pre-cooked shrimp, this whole meal could go from fridge to dinner table in 15 minutes.  And not only is it easy and fast to prepare, it's also healthy and delicious.

Recipe after the jump!

Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp
Adapted from Bon Appetit
May 2009

1 6.75-ounce package rice stick noodles (maifun)
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
4 tsp sambal oelek
2 tsp sugar
1 cup English cucumbers, thinly sliced on the bias
1 8-ounce package sugar snap peas, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Toss shrimp with 2 tbsp vegetable oil, s&p.  Spread shrimp out on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast shrimp until opaque, about 8 minutes.  Remove shrimp from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves.  Place shrimp in medium bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons dressing.  Toss to coat.

Divide noodles among bowls. Top with cucumber slices and all remaining vegetables and herbs.  Last, top with shrimp, and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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