Saturday, July 14

Grilled Summer Vegetables & Sushi Rice with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette

Looks good right?

Ok then.

I can't even pretend to have not noticed, so I'll just be upfront: fish sauce is gross. Like.. gross gross.

Like, when you open the bottle you instantly release a pungent aroma slightly reminiscent of putrid milk and gym socks. That kind of gross.

Like, I was too afraid to taste it on its own, so I used exactly the amount required for this recipe and mixed the whole dressing before I dared to taste. I still have no idea what it tastes like. That kind of gross.

Like, when you spill a little on your chest (yea, I don't know.. don't ask me how that happened) and then wipe it off, it will still smell funky for hours (too close to your nose for comfort). That kind of gross. 

Like, the bottle asks that you not refrigerate; it might congeal. That kind of gross.

And trust me, I was really worried about this dish once I opened that bottle. I thought for sure it was going to be a flop. I was pretty confident that I was about to make the dressing, hate it and then improvise a new one. I lacked confidence. 

But, damn this was good. So please, don't live in fear of fish sauce. Just be sure not to get too close, don't let anyone else smell it, put the cap back on tightly and hide it in the back of your pantry.


Grilled Summer Vegetables & Sushi Rice with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette
Serves 4-5
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Vegetable oil
15 okra pods
3 ears of corn, shucked
2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, centers scooped out
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1" slices
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce (such as nuoc nam or nam pla)
1 tsbp fresh lime juice
2 dried mild or hot chiles, rehydrated (I used Ancho)
2 c (loosely packed) coarsely chopped mixed fresh tender herbs (I used basil, cilantro & mint).
4 cups steamed sushi rice

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill grates with oil. Lay okra, corn, zucchini, chiles, eggplant out on a baking sheet. Using a basting brush, apply a light coating of oil to the vegetables, then lightly salt. Grill vegetables, turning every 2 minutes, until crisp-tender and lightly charred (total time is about 8 minutes).

Remove the corn kernels from their cobs and place in a large bowl. Cut the zucchini and eggplant into irregular 1" pieces and place in bowl with corn. Trim the tops from okra and cut into small tubes (about 2 cuts per orka pod) and add to bowl. Set aside.

Combine in the bowl of a food processor or small chopper the garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and chiles. Process until pureed.

Drizzle dressing over warm vegetables. Toss in the herbs until thoroughly combined.

Scoop steamed sushi rice onto a platter and top with salad. Either serve in this manner over the sushi rice, or toss together until combined.

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