Monday night, 6pm. Everybody hungry. Thawed package of ground pork in the fridge—mostly because we needed room in the freezer over the weekend, not that we had an actual plan for it. Ah ha! Time for Thai pork salad! Not an ideal seasonal match, but how seasonal is 5 inches of fresh powder on St. Patrick’s Day? With that spirit, I took the family on a dinner trip to “Summer” while living a Montana March.
I adapted this recipe from “Thai Ground Pork Salad”, a Food and Wine favorite from Tom Mylan. Thinking my 8 yo would never touch it (ground pork flecked with cilantro, basil, mint, jalapeños, doused with fish sauce and wrapped in lettuce???), I supplemented the table with some suitably plain leftovers. To my great surprise, the Thai pork vanished before the leftovers were even considered—a family dinner touchdown! And it’s always the right season for that.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced and mashed with a pinch of salt
- 8 lettuce leaves butter lettuce (or green or red leaf) left whole for wrapping
- 1 lime, juice from
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (Tiparos or Red Boat)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sriracha chile sauce
- 1/2 cup basil leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup mint leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
For serving: additional jalapeño slices, lime wedges, and sriracha
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground pork, jalapeño, and garlic and cook until pork is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain off fat and transfer cooked meat to a serving bowl.
Rinse the lettuce, spin dry, and gently wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Stash in the refrigerator while you mix the sauce and finishing cooking. This will help the lettuce be crisp and delicious.
In glass measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha. Drizzle over the browned pork, stir to mix, and let stand 5 minutes.
Add the herbs to the pork. Serve with lettuce leaves and pass the jalapeño slices, lime wedges, and sriracha.