Pork Jerky Pasta Salad.
seem a perennial ingredient since they’re available all
year, but red onions taste especially fresh and crisp now.
We’re nearing the end of the harvest, but these purple
bulbs are still coming straight out of the ground and into
our kitchens at the end of summer. That means they don’t
have the harsh bite, dry petals or papery skins that older
red onions’ mild sweetness and crunch, I toss thin slivers
raw into pasta salad. They turn it into a dish I actually
like. Normally, I have a love-hate relationship with pasta
salad. It’s everything I need — fast, easy, make-ahead,
portable, big batch — and not what I want. At least not in
its usual form. The cold noodles are too hard or too soft,
too bland or too gloppy.
they’re just right. When tossed warm with a Thai-inspired
fish sauce vinaigrette, the pasta stays tender and soaks up
the sauce’s spicy, savory tang. Red onion brightens the
mix while pork jerky, a snack that is quickly becoming a
pantry staple, adds heft and saves you the hassle of cooking
meat. Crinkles of red cabbage take this dish into September
and beyond and turn this into a hearty yet light one-dish
JERKY PASTA SALAD
Serves 6 to 8.
This salad is
delicious with any pork or beef jerky, especially
Asian-flavored varieties. For the tastiest version, seek out
freshly made, deep-fried pork jerky at your local Thai
market. While you’re there, get fresh Thai lime leaves.
They deliver an herbaceous bite without the risk of wilting
like most leafy herbs. If you can’t find them, substitute
the freshly grated zest of a lime or two very thinly sliced
fresh bay leaves.
fusilli or other short pasta
3 Thai bird
or other small hot chiles, seeded, if desired, and minced
distilled white vinegar
teaspoons granulated sugar
everyday extra-virgin olive oil
pork jerky, preferably Thai, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion,
quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 small red
8 fresh Thai
lime leaves, veins removed and very thinly sliced
1. Bring a
large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta
according to the package’s directions.
2. While the
pasta cooks, whisk the chiles, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar
and olive oil in a large bowl. Drain the pasta in a colander
and rinse under cold water until just warm. Shake dry in the
colander, then immediately transfer to the sauce. Toss until
3. Add the
pork, onion, cabbage and lime leaves, mix well and serve.
Pasta Salad: Substitute char siu (Chinese roast pork) for
the pork jerky.
Salad: Substitute Thai marinated and deep-fried tofu for the
Pasta Salad: Substitute cooked rice noodles for the fusilli.
The pasta salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container
for up to three days. Bring to room temperature to serve.