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Apple and Green Papaya Salad - from Co'm Vietnamese Grill


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Cuisine: Salad Vietnamese

FROM THE MENU OF . . . CO'M VIETNAMESE GRILL
4005-E Buford Highway, Atlanta
404-320-0405

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

Ingredients:

    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
    4 servings
    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

Instructions:

In a small glass bowl, combine sugar, vinegar and water. Add carrot and daikon and stir to coat. Allow to marinate overnight, stirring occasionally.
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.

Notes:

Look for green papaya, green mango, fried shallots, fish sauce and coconut juice in Asian markets.

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.

Nutrition:

Per serving, without dressing: 102 calories (percent of calories from fat, 21), 2 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 45 milligrams sodium.

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.

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