Vietnamese Green Papaya & Beet SaladOh my goodness. I did it! The “Vietnamese Green Papaya and Beet Salad,” from the May 2016 issue of Food & Wine, is easy to pull together (thank you food processor!) and is fantastic to eat. The celebration, here, is in the winning formula that includes sugar and fish sauce and lime juice.

First, go out and buy yourself a green, unripe papaya. Simply, it’s got firm, dark green skin (and fruit that is pale green instead of orange). I julienned my papaya, yellow beet, and carrot in my food processor. Too easy.

Let’s talk about turbinado sugar. Does it make a difference, here? I want to believe it does. Turbinado is not brown sugar, but it’s pale brown and coarse. Get some for yourself.

Finely dice your tart tomatillo by hand. Salted peanuts, cilantro, and mint make this salad happen. And then, the “lettuce sponge” on the bottom of the plate is right on. Sing and dance with happiness with this salad. That’s what I did.

PRICES:
Gem Lettuce (1 head) = .95¢

PREP TIME: it’s a salad: quick enough to whisk, heat, and cool the dressing, pan roast the peanuts with cumin, julienne things in your food processor, and assemble your magnificent heap on your plate
TASTE: sugar + fish sauce + lime juice = sweetness, tartness, funk

Next time, I want to work with dried lily flowers(!) and dried shiitake mushrooms, to make a Chinese shrimp/pork/noodle dish called “Da Lu Mein” from Omnivore’s Cookbook. And while I’m at it, I’ll make the “Long Bean Salad,” from the July 2014 issue of Bön Appetit. Come back to my site next week, to see what happens.