I’m a huge fan of iced tea. My mother drank it all day long. What I just recently learned is that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. Did you know that:
· On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.
· Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced.
· Iced tea now the most consumed beverage at lunch time
Next Wednesday is apparently National Iced Tea Day (I’m really not sure who’s responsible for declaring these days but, why NOT celebrate).
To honor the day, I’m excited to feature a very tasty recipe from Top Chef judge and culinary expert chef Gail Simmons. I met Gail last year at an event launching her partnership with Pure Leaf Iced Tea where I learned that Pure Leaf is one of the only iced teas brewed from real tea leaves; giving us that refreshing, authentic ‘farm to bottle’ experience.
Needless to say I was hooked and I’ve been cooking from Gail’s recipes ever since.
Gail’s Rice Noodle recipe is just perfect for a hot summer’s day. It’s light and airy yet surprisingly filling. And, who can deny the light zing of summery flavor from the mint and cilantro.
Go on, try it.
Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Cilantro
By Gail Simmons
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 8 oz vermicelli rice noodles
- 4 1/4 cups Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea, divided
- 4 cups water
- 1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, 10 stems reserved
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped
- 2 small Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped or 1Ž2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandolin
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandolin
- 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandolin
- 1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
- 1 pound cooked shrimp or shredded rotisserie chicken, optional
- Heat canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry shallots in oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with 1Ž2 teaspoon salt.
- In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups Iced Tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and remaining teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.
- For dressing, combine reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining 1Ž4 cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Place noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and chicken or shrimp (if desired) in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.
Note: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.
This post is not, in any way, sponsored by Pure Leaf. I was not compensated to help promote Pure Leaf or Gail Simmons, I’m just a big fan.