If you had told me I would be posting a recipe for a dish I made for dinner tonight, while John is out of town, I would have asked what you were smoking. Hats off to the single moms—I don’t know how they do it, and when John is out of town I pretty much plan for very low effort dinners. I still bake—because it can be done with the kids and while they are napping, and because *I* find it relaxing—but by the time we get to dinner I just want to go to bed.
So I was surfing through my recipes, not really expecting to find anything and thinking we would be scrounging for dinner (double speak for eating leftovers, frozen meals and cold cuts), when I came across this recipe in my files and realized it would be very easy—and it would allow me to use up the mint I had wilting in my fridge. (Don’t you hate it when you buy herbs for something and then don’t end up using them?) Well it was easy and it was terrific as well.
If you have any nuoc cham sitting around, this would be a good recipe for it. I would add extra lime juice, but in general the proportions for the dressing are the same. Canned pineapple works fine (sure fresh would be better, but if you are making this at the last minute like I did, canned pineapple is excellent). I served this with seared and roasted chicken breast, but any meat or seafood would work just fine. I did not serve it with any starch because we are anticipating some bread coming out of the oven later, but jasmine rice or rice noodles would both work well with this salad.
Cucumber, Pineapple & Tomato Salad with Vietnamese Dressing
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T sugar
1 (2-inch-long) fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, minced, including seeds
1 T Asian fish sauce
1/2 seedless cucumber (often plastic-wrapped), halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (I used baby cukes sliced into rounds)
1/2 pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cored, then sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (2 cups) (I used one large can)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes (1 lb total), cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (I used grape tomatoes sliced in half)
Whisk together lime juice and sugar in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved, then whisk in garlic, chile, and fish sauce (to taste). Add remaining ingredients, tossing to coat.