Read an Excerpt
Aromatic Watercress, Tomato, and Herb Salad
with Ginger-Lemongrass Vinaigrette
I really like the combination of garden-ripe tomatoes and whole herb leaves. And since the use of whole herbs is very typical of Asian cuisines, why not combine these simple ingredients with an Asian-style dressing? When preparing the lemongrass, make sure that you use only the tender core that resides inside the bottom third of the stalk; the rest is too fibrous to eat. This dressing would also be great with any cold Asian noodle dish, as a marinade for cucumbers, or as a sauce for cold roast chicken.
For the dressing:
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 to 6 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons minced inner stalk from bottom 1/3 of the stalk of lemongrass
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly cracked white pepper to taste (or substitute black pepper)
For the salad:
2 bunches watercress, trimmed, washed, and dried
1/2 cup loosely packed whole cilantro leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed whole mint leaves
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 cucumber, peeled if you want, sliced into very thin rounds
1. In a medium bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until very well blended.
2. In a large bowl, combine the watercress, cilantro, mint, tomato quarters, and cucumber. Stir the dressing well, add just enough to moisten the salad ingredients (there will be some dressing left over), toss to coat, and serve.