17 Aug Sauvignon Blanc Pairing-Vietnamese Melon Salad
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh Thai bird’s-eye chiles, stemmed and minced
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lime juice
Crispy Fried Shallots
1-pound (450g) shallots, peeled and sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds (see note)
2 cups (475ml) vegetable oil
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks.
Line a sheet tray with a double layer of paper towels. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl or medium saucepan.
Combine shallots and oil in a medium saucepan. Place over high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots begin to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly as the shallots fry to ensure even cooking, until shallots turn pale golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Working quickly, pour contents of saucepan into prepared strainer set over bowl. (Shallots will continue cooking for a brief period after draining, so do not allow them to get too dark.) Place drained shallots on paper towels in a thin layer and season with salt.
½ cup Fried Shallots
3 pounds mini seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then drained
1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup chopped mint leaves Or use Rau Ram
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves or use rau ram
½ cup roughly crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Combine watermelon, onion, cucumber, mint, cilantro, peanuts, half of the fried shallots and ⅓ cup dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as desired. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining shallots.
Courtesy of Mark Caldwell, Executive Chef Davis Estates