Barbecued beef salad wrapped in rice paper

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
\N \N Stephen Ceideburg
1 pounds Boneless beef round (1 inch thick)
2 \N Stalks fresh lemongrass *
2 \N Shallots
3 \N Cloves of garlic
1 \N Fresh serrano chili
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
2 ounces Dried rice stick noodles
\N \N Boiling water
12 larges Red lettuce leaves
1 small English cucumber, peeled and julienned
24 \N Fresh mint leaves
36 \N Fresh coriander leaves, each with a little stem
\N \N Nuoc cham dipping sauce (see below)
12 \N (12-inch) dried rice-paper circles
\N 3 hours before cooking.

* or 2 tablespoons dried lemongrass soaked in warm water for 1 hour This "fresh" Vietnamese spring roll is not fried, which makes it lighter and very refreshing. The filling, though herbaceous and hearty, is also light. Note that the beef needs to be marinated for at least

1. Cut the beef into 4- by ¾-inch pieces. Slice each piece across the grain into ¼-inch thick strips.

2. Remove and discard the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass. Slice the tender white heart into 1-inch lengths and put them in a food processor with the shallots, garlic, chili and sugar; process into a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and mix in the fish sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Add the beef slices, mix, and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. In a medium bowl, cover the rice stick noodles with boiling water; let stand 1 minute, then drain. Arrange the rice stick noodles, lettuce, cucumber strips, mint and coriander in separate piles on a platter, leaving space for the beef. Refrigerate.

4. Just before serving, preheat a grilling rack over hot coals. Grill the beef strips for 30 seconds on each side, just until nicely seared. Or place the beef strips on the highest oven rack under a hot broiler and broil on each side until seared. Arrange the beef on the platter.

5. Have a dish of dipping sauce and one or more wide bowls of warm water on the tables. Each guest dips a rice paper circle into a water bowl and immediately spreads it flat on a dinner plate or a damp towel. The circle will rehydrate and become pliable in a few seconds.

It is then ready to be filled and rolled.

6. To make a spring roll, lay a lettuce leaf on the bottom third of the moistened circle. Top it with 2 or 3 slices of beef, a large tablespoon of noodles, several strips of cucumber and a few leaves of mint and coriander. Fold the near edge of the paper over the filling, then roll up the paper around the filling, keeping it taut. Halfway through, fold one end over to enclose the filling; then continue rolling. Dip the open end of the roll into the sauce and eat it with the fingers. Serves 6.

Note: To make Vietnamese nuoc cham dipping sauce: Grind 4 garlic cloves, 2 fresh chilis (preferably serrano) and 2 tablespoons sugar into a paste in a mortar, blender or mini food processor. Stir in 6 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam), 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 6 to 8 tablespoons water. Strain into a dipping bowl.

IMAGE, Jim Wood, Sunday, March 8, 1992.

Posted by Stephen Ceideburg

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