Seriously, I love me some summer. I mean, there just isn't anything I don't like about it. I'm even one of those weird people that love that feeling that you get when you walk outside in the blazing humid heat and feel like you can't breathe because the air is so thick and heavy. I wait for that feeling every year.
This summer is even better because we're enjoying our yard for the first full season and everything that comes along with it. My DVR'd tv shows are happily piling up, due to the fact that we spend almost every free minute we can outside in the garden, either working, reading, eating dinner, or just relaxing.
This recipe sort of came together when I was looking for something to do with some mahi mahi filets. I also had just picked some snow peas from the garden and really wanted some sort of salad to include them. As I kicked around some ideas, I remembered the Banh Mi sandwich, which is a traditional sandwich with some sort of protein, carrots, herbs, and other pickled vegetables. I also thought about how much I love that little spicy sauce that comes along with my favorite noodle bowl from the local Vietnamese restaurant. I pulled a few ideas together and shazam - here we are.
Although the salad doesn't contain all the ingredients found on a Banh Mi, you can really add to or subtract whatever you want from it. This one contains slivered carrots and cucumbers, sliced red bell pepper, fresh snow peas, and chopped scallions. I then topped it with fresh cilantro and mint for a real flavor explosion.
Then came the mahi mahi. I liberally slathered it with red curry paste, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, and then grilled it. Although I used fish, you could easily substitute chicken breast and prepare it the same way if you're one of those meat-eatin' folks. (funny story about curry paste - I have a weird thing with it. Every time I see it in the store, I have to buy a can of it, regardless of how many I have at home. Sort of like that "Catcher in the Rye" obsession Mel Gibson has in Conspiracy Theory. Good thing I love it.)
And that's it. Assemble the salad and go. It's delicious and easy and the flavors are AMAZING. There's some heat from the curry paste and then the cooling flavors of the fresh vegetables and peanut dressing. So go ahead and give this recipe a try. I promise it won't disappoint.
Banh Mi Salad with Grilled Mahi Mahi and Spicy Peanut Dressing
4 mahi mahi filets (thawed if using frozen)
1 can red curry paste
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Asian garlic chili sauce (or sriracha)
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tsp agave
1 head romaine, torn into pieces
Few handfuls of snow peas
2 Carrots, cut into slivers
1 Cucumber, cut into slivers
3 baby red peppers, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
Rub red curry paste into fish and allow to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
In a small food processor, add all dressing ingredients and process until creamy and well combined.
Preheat grill to medium high and grill fish until cooked. (My mahi mahi filets took about 4 minutes each side) Assemble salad ingredients on a plate and drizzle with dressing. Place cooked fish on top and enjoy!