Saturday, August 09, 2008
Weekend Herb Blogging: Thai Summer Salad
We were at the market today. As we do each Saturday, we walked the tables, looking at who has the best this or that today. I always take a moment to pause at the table run by a local Thai family. It's from them that I first learned about such beautiful greens like flowering bok choy and deep crimson-purple amaranth leaves.
Today, the table held Thai eggplants, small green globes, mottled with white. There were also herbs and lemongrass, Thai basil, and elegant long, pointed greens known as water spinach. Alongside these exotic vegetables were also long beans, basically foot-plus long green beans (shown in the photo with regular green beans for comparison). I had no plans to cook anything Asian for the weekend, but the produce won me over.
"I'll have some long beans, water spinach, and these eggplants," I said. Kicking myself for not getting the tiny, fiery peppers as well. A lovely Thai woman turned to me.
"Oh," she said, "you must cook Thai food." She was giving me far more credit than I deserve.
Really, I don't, but I have a book and some ideas, I was hoping maybe she would give me a few tips. I just said, "You know, if I don't try new things, I'll miss out on too much." She smiled.
When we got home, I pulled out the one book I have, Thailand Vegetarian Table. I looked up water spinach first and then long beans. Then, I spotted a salad recipe that I could make work for both. I substituted what I had to, and used everything I could. The salad turned out really beautiful — and all in season as well.
The long beans were a nice surprise. They have a crisp, green flavor that I loved even more than regular green beans. I will buy these again. You can substitute regular green beans and even skip the spinach or use lettuces if you cannot find these ingredients.
Thai Summer Salad
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.
This week's Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by Dil Se.