By Genevieve Ko, The New York Times
I want cold noodles and smashed cucumber salad, packed away for beach trips alongside lots of salty snacks in other totes.
I want the thick rib-eyes my dad grills for family barbecues. Everyone — even the youngest grandkids — smushes the slices into freshly steamed rice so the juices run all through the sticky grains.
But most summer days and nights, I want sliced tomatoes and chilled silken tofu drizzled with a soy sauce-sesame oil mix and lots of toasted sesame seeds, tortillas filled with good things from the grill, and lots of salsa for overstuffed burritos and tacos.
Rice Noodles With Seared Pork, Carrots and Herbs
Vietnamese-style marinated pork chops are often served whole with rice noodles, herbs and a dipping sauce. This version mixes all the components, infusing the noodles, sliced meat and vegetables with the sauce and keeping the noodles tender even after a day in the fridge. Dark, robust maple syrup takes the place of the traditional dark caramel in a nod to autumn (and as a weeknight shortcut to save you the hassle of browning sugar). The pork takes only a few minutes to cook, the noodles about 3, so this whole dish comes together really fast.
By: Genevieve Ko
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup dark, pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
- Black pepper
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
- 1 long red finger chile, thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
- 3 small garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 4 thin (1/2-inch) boneless pork chops (3/4 to 1 pound total)
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
- 3 carrots, peeled and julienned (2 cups)
- Kosher salt
- 8 to 9 ounces thin rice vermicelli noodles
- 2 packed cups torn fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil and dill (2 1/2 ounces), plus more for garnish
1. Whisk the fish sauce, syrup, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the shallots, chile and garlic. Transfer 2 tablespoons liquid to a large shallow dish and add the pork. Turn to evenly coat and let stand until ready to cook.
2. Stir the lime juice into the sauce in the bowl. Add the carrots and toss until evenly coated. Let stand.
3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the pork and cook, turning once, until seared and just rosy in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and let stand.
4. Put the noodles in the boiling water, stir well, and remove from the heat. Let stand until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain very well, then transfer to the sauce in the bowl. Toss until evenly coated.
5. Cut the pork into thin slices and add to the noodles with any accumulated juices. Toss well. Toss in the herbs until well mixed. The mixture may look a bit soupy. As it sits and cools, the noodles will absorb the liquid. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, with more herbs and lime wedges.
TIPS: The noodles can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 3 days. You can toss in the herbs right before serving if you prefer a fresher bite.
To find the best burritos in San Francisco, you have to go to the Mission District, a historic Latin American neighborhood known for its vibrant culture and food. There are many places there to get a good burrito, but La Taqueria, which won a James Beard Award in 2017, is a favorite. Miguel Jara, who emigrated to the United States from Mexico, opened the restaurant in 1973 because he missed the cuisine of his home country. Mission burritos are known for their giant size and are packed with a hearty serving of meat, beans, salsa verde, pico de gallo, cheese, avocado and sour cream. Most Mission burritos include rice as well, but Jara believes it takes away from the flavors of the meat. No garnish is necessary, but the aluminum foil wrapper is required: No real Mission burrito is served without it.
Recipe from La Taqueria
Adapted by Kiera Wright-Ruiz
Yield: 4 burritos
Total time: 35 minutes
For the carne asada:
- 1 pound top sirloin steak
- 1 (12-ounce) can Tecate beer
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons pork lard or 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable oil), plus more for searing the burritos, if desired
For the beans:
- 3 tablespoons pork lard (optional)
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained (about 1 1/3 cups beans)
- Kosher salt
For the assembly:
- 4 burrito-size (9- to 10-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup finely chopped homemade or store-bought pico de gallo
- 1/4 cup salsa verde
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 avocado, mashed
1. Cut steak in half crosswise. Place both pieces in a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out excess air from the bag and seal. Using a meat mallet, heavy frying pan or rolling pin, pound meat until about 1/4-inch thick. Make sure there are no holes in the bag, then pour the beer into it. Let the steak marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove steak from bag, discarding marinade, and pat steak dry using a paper towel. Season steak on both sides with salt.
2. Meanwhile, heat the beans: In a small pot over low heat, combine the lard, if using, and pinto beans. (If you’re not using lard, add a few tablespoons of water to keep the beans from sticking to the pot.) Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and keep covered until ready to assemble burritos.
3. Cook the steak: Heat 5 tablespoons lard or 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high. Working in two batches to avoid crowding the pan, cook each steak until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Once slightly cooled, chop steak into bite-size pieces.
4. Assemble the burritos: Working with one tortilla at a time, sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese in a strip (running parallel to you) across the middle of the tortilla, leaving a 1-inch edge on the left and right sides so the fillings don’t spill out when you roll it. Top with 1/3 cup beans and 1/2 cup chopped steak. Top with 1/4 cup pico de gallo, 1 tablespoon salsa verde and 2 tablespoons sour cream. Using a spoon, smear a quarter of the mashed avocado on one side of the fillings.
5. To wrap the burritos, fold the short left and right edges in towards the filling. Keeping the sides folded, fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the filling. Tightly roll away from you until the entire burrito is secure.
6. If you’d like to crisp the outside of the burritos, heat 2 tablespoons of lard or oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Place the burrito in the skillet and cook each side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Tightly wrap a piece of aluminum foil around each burrito, and serve warm.