Our son loves Asian food, so for his nineteenth birthday earlier in the week, he asked me to surprise him with an Asian dinner. These Summer Greens with Cold Noodle Salad and Thai-Spiced Meat Patties formed the basis of our celebratory meal. With fresh greens so abundant this time of year, their flavor and texture need only a minimum of seasonings to add both color and flavor to the plate. The noodle salad is made with fresh Chinese egg noodles that take just minutes to cook up and are flavored primarily by fresh scallions, also abundant now. The Thai-seasoned meat patties are a delicate and light alternative to traditional American burgers, adding a bit of warmth and spice to this otherwise cool main course plate. Don’t let the number of ingredients and steps frighten you away from this delicious dish. Each step is relatively simple and takes a minimum of time. As an alternative, the greens, the noodle salad, and the patties each stand up well when eaten on their own for a lighter lunch or dinner.
We just finished a long stretch of cool rainy days that made everything green and lush here in New Hampshire. The sun is finally making an appearance, to our delight and pleasure. I love summer in New England. It doesn’t get any better than this!
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
SUMMER GREENS WITH NOODLES & THAI INSPIRED MEAT PATTIES
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- For the meat patties:
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 lb. ground pork*
- 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 small red chili-pepper, seeds removed, chopped finely
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, rinsed and lightly chopped
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Thai spice blend*
- 1 teaspoon Nam Pla (Thai Fish Sauce)
- Oil for grilling
- For the cold noodle salad:
- 1 lb. fresh Chinese egg noodles
- ½ cup Mirin (sweet Asian rice vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons Nam Pla
- ½ cup sesame oil
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped finely
- For garnish at serving:
- 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
- Handful cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- To prepare the meat patties: Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Divide into 12 balls and shape in to patties. Place in a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour before grilling.*
- For the cold noodle salad: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fresh Chinese egg noodles and cook until tender. Drain in a large colander in the sink, then rinse with cold water. Drain completely again, taking care to shake off any excess water. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the Mirin, Nam Pla and sesame oil. Pour over the cooked noodles and toss together. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and scallions on top. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more Nam Pla if you prefer a saltier salad, more sesame oil if you prefer it dressed more heavily.
- Cover and keep cool while you cook the meat patties and prepare the summer greens.
- For the greens: Wash the greens, basil and cilantro leaves. Tear into bite sized pieces and dry completely using a salad spinner or clean towels. Place them in a large bowl and toss together gently. Keep in a cool place until you are ready to serve.
- To grill the meat patties:Preheat your grill to high. Using a heat-proof pastry brush, brush the grates with oil. Place the patties on the grates (you may need to do them in batches depending on the size of your grill) and grill until they are golden on the outside, cooked through on the inside. You will need to flip them at least once to assure they are cooked evenly. Cooking time will vary according to the heat of your grill, but they should take between 10 and 15 minutes to cook fully. Once cooked, place on a warm platter.
- To serve: Divide the greens between 6 dinner plates or bowls. Place a mound of cold noodle salad decoratively on top of each plate of greens. Place two patties on top of each mound of noodles. Sprinkle patties with fresh lime juice, then garnish with cilantro leaves and red pepper flakes if using.
- Enjoy!!!Note: You can substitute any ground meat you prefer here. Beef, chicken, turkey or lamb work equally well.