What’s For Dinner?
Apple and Green Papaya Salad - from Co'm Vietnamese Grill
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
FROM THE MENU OF . . . CO'M VIETNAMESE GRILL
4005-E Buford Highway, Atlanta
Q: Please publish the recipe for the Apple and Green Papaya Salad at Co'm. It interplays sweet, spicy, salty and tart flavors. I can't get it out of my head.
VICTORIA MALMER, West Palm Beach, Fla.
A: According to Duc Tran, who runs Co'm Vietnamese Grill in Atlanta and Co'm Vietnamese Grill Fusion in Dunwoody with his brother Henry, this salad is so good that it can change people's eating habits.
"One night a family came to the restaurant, and the wife ordered the salad for the whole family, " he said. "They said the husband refused to eat salad. But when we brought it out to him, he couldn't believe it was salad. He ate the most."
Hands on time: 25 minutes Total time: 25 minutes Serves: 4
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
5 tablespoons water
2 ounces (1 small) carrot, in thin julienne
2 ounces Chinese daikon, in thin julienne (about 1/2 cup)
6 ounces green papaya, in thin julienne (about 1 cup)
6 ounces green mango, in thin julienne (about 1 cup)
4 ounces (1 small) Fuji apple, in thin julienne
4 ounces (about 1/2 medium) cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in thin julienne
10 mint leaves, cut into ribbons
10 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts, divided use
2 tablespoons fried shallots, divided use
Dressing (See Recipe below)
Additional mint and basil leaves for garnish
Co'm Salad Dressing
Hands on: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Like the salad it dresses, this sauce combines sweet, salty, hot and sour flavors. The restaurant recommends Three Crabs brand fish sauce.
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 small red chiles, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon coconut juice (not milk), optional
Lift the carrot and daikon out of the pickling liquid and place in a large serving bowl. Add the papaya, mango, apple, cucumber, mint, basil and cilantro and lightly toss. Add all but 2 teaspoons of the chopped peanuts and 1 tablespoon of the fried shallots. Toss with the dressing, then garnish with the reserved peanuts and fried shallots and additional chopped fresh mint and basil.
For Co'm Salad Dressing:
In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, water, lime juice, chiles, garlic, orange juice, rice vinegar, honey, sugar and coconut juice, if using. Mix and serve.
Tester's note: The fruits and vegetables should be cut into long skinny strips, like shoestrings. A mandoline is ideal, but you can also cut them by hand.
The key, Tran said, is the combination of textures and flavors. "It has sour to it, it has sweetness to it, it has texture to it. When you combine the elements together, it offers a very unique taste, " he explained.
Although the menus at the two Co'ms are different (the Buford highway location is more traditional; the Dunwoody location explores several Asian cuisines), the apple and papaya salad has earned a spot at both.
Per serving, with dressing: 172 calories (percent of calories from fat, 23), 3 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 48 milligrams sodium.
Co'm Salad Dressing:
Per serving of dressing: 69 calories (percent of calories from fat, 28), 1 gram protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium.