Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Pure Leaf Tea’s brunch with Gail Simmons down in Austin. Gail has partnered with the amazing team at Pure Leaf for several years now and because you readers are just so awesome, they sent over one of Gail’s recipes! The noodles are COOKED IN TEA! Brilliant! Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Cilantro
By Gail Simmons
1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
8 oz vermicelli rice noodles
4 ¼ cups Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea, divided
4 cups water
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves, 10 stems reserved
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped
2 small Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped or ½ teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandoline
¼ cup mint, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
1 pound cooked shrimp or shredded rotisserie chicken, optional
Heat canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry shallots in oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with ½ teaspoon salt.
In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups Iced Tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and remaining teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.
For dressing, combine reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining ¼ cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
Place noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and chicken or shrimp (if desired) in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.
Note: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.