Sometimes I feel guilty when I go out to eat. In New York, you inevitably end up dropping $40+ on dinner, and I know I could singlehandedly feed the whole table in my apartment for less. But so long as the food is worth it, I usually walk away feeling pretty inspired.
One of the best meals I’ve recently had out on the town was at Nightingale 9 in Carroll Gardens. I’ve been a longtime fan of the down home Southern brunch at Seersucker down the street. So I was curious to see what the same chef was doing with Vietnamese street food. Plus, I knew they had popsicles for dessert. Hello, summah…
There were two dishes that stuck with me. The first was a shaved collard green salad – clearly the brainchild of a chef that has a Southern restaurant and a Vietnamese restaurant right next to one another. Since I love me a marinated kale salad, I was super inspired by how the lime interacted with the slightly woodier collards. The second dish was the cha cha catfish served with a simple vermicelli salad. You know I’m a sucker for rice noodles.
I finally sat down last week to brainstorm dishes for fall and realized that I have no recipes for vermicelli noodles on the site. So that obviously had to change.
I usually think of these cold noodle salads as summer foods. But really, they are the perfect transitional dish for back-to-school. I’ve kept this particular one – inspired by the collard salad with loads of kale and lime juice – in the fridge for over a week and have been slowly nibbling away at it. If you’re looking for a few easy dishes to get you back on the cooking bandwagon and start brown bagging your lunch to work, give this one a go. I was able to find brown rice vermicelli noodles at Whole Foods, which makes this dish even more healthful.
Tonight I’m heading to Estela with the same group of friends. Hopefully it will be as successful an eating evening as Nightingale. It will be if the heatmap is any indication. Are there any new NYC restaurants you’re loving? Let me know in the comments!
- 8 ounces brown rice vermicelli noodles (or regular)
- Juice of 4 limes
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons siracha or garlic chili sauce
- 2 cups tightly packed kale
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl and cover with enough boiling water to submerge them. Soak for 3 – 5 minutes until the noodles are tender. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water, shaking off any excess. Return to the bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, honey, and siracha until the honey is dissolved. Add to the noodles along with the kale, carrot, scallions, and cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.
Salad can be made 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.