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Tomato & Dumpling Salad With Chili Vinaigrette

I’m always looking for salads that are different from the usual fare.

I found a variation of this one on the New York Times Cooking site (which I highly recommend, by the way).

I like the play of the spicy chili crisp against the sweetness of the tomatoes and the warm dumplings against the cold tomatoes.

I’ve introduced you to Momofuku’s Chili Crunch before, but this time, I used their Truffle Chili Crunch. Try it - you won’t be disappointed.


FOR THE SALAD

2 pounds ripe tomatoes (any variety but not cherry or grape tomatoes), cut into roughly 1- to 2-inch pieces (at room temperature)

2-3 garlic cloves, grated

½ cup basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 1/2 pound frozen potsticker dumplings (not thawed)


FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

3 tablespoons chile crisp (or chile oil)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste


METHOD

Place the tomatoes on a large serving plate or in a bowl. Add the garlic, half the basil leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt and a big pinch of black pepper.

Toss to combine and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the chile crisp, rice vinegar and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and if it needs more saltiness, add ½ teaspoon more soy sauce.

If you don’t like too much heat, add only half of the chili crisp and taste. Add more if needed.

Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium high for 1 to 2 minutes until very hot.

Add the sesame oil and, working in batches, add the dumplings, flat-side down, and cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately add about ¼ cup of water to the pan, just enough to cover the base of the dumplings, then cover and cook until the water has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.

(If your dumplings contain meat, cook for an extra 1 to 2 minutes, or according to packet instructions).

Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate and continue cooking the remaining dumplings. (If you prefer to steam the dumplings, see instructions at the end. But the frying on one side gives them a nice contrasting texture,)


FOR THE CRISPY SHALLOTS

1-2 shallots

neutral oil

fine salt


Slice the shallots thinly and break apart the rings, spreading them on a paper towel. Put another paper towel on top and dry them as much as possible.

In a small saucepan, bring about 1.5 to 2 inches of neutral oil like canola to about 300 degrees.

In small batches, fry the shallots just until they begin to turn golden - 20-30 seconds. If they look brown and crispy, they’ll be overdone by the time you take them out of the oil.

Scoop them out and place them on a paper towel, sprinkling a little salt on top.

You can buy pre-prepared crispy shallots but fresh is better. If you do buy them, crisp them up in the oven before using.

To serve, place the warm dumplings over the tomato salad and drizzle with the chile crisp vinaigrette. Toss very gently. Top with the crispy fried shallots and the remaining basil leaves. Serve while the dumplings are still warm.

If you’d rather steam, arrange the dumplings in a steaming basket lined with baking paper or cabbage leaves, place over a pan of boiling water and steam for 10 to 15 minutes.



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