It was the day of CrankyGreg’s birthday celebration, and we had decided on an easy dinner – the great dumplings and steamed buns we can buy out of the freezer at our favorite local Asian market, followed by Greg’s favorite Black Forest cake (which made my theme-loving brain whirl round & round with shouts of “BUT THAT DOESN’T GO!”).
In any case, I was listening to NPR in the morning and heard the segment on Georgia peaches. I started thinking about interesting things to do with peaches (not that they need any help from me), and thought about dinner and wondered how it would be to put them into a green papaya salad.
Have you tried this in Thai or Vietnamese restaurants? The papaya is shredded and dressed with a tart, lightly sweet, and spicy dressing. The papaya stays juicy and a little bit crispy/firm, and can be accompanied by tomatoes or carrots or other vegetables, or cilantro or basil, or all the above. The overall effect is summery and refreshing, and it’s one of those things that goes terrifically with all sorts of food.
Normally, the dressing has chopped peanuts, fish sauce and shrimp paste in it – both terrific, pungent, salty items that are at the heart of much Southeast Asian cooking. But Greg is allergic to peanuts, and two of his best friends are vegetarian, so some substitutions were in order. The results were delicious, and vegan, and a great counterpart to the starchy buns and steamed dumplings. And a little too spicy, which left us all coughing after the first few bites, but I’ve adjusted the recipe so you won’t. And though I just left out the peanuts, I’ve included them here so you can put them back in where they belong.
- 1 green papaya
- 3 peaches
- 3 limes
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 T. umeboshi vinegar
- 1 – 2 T. sriracha or other hot sauce
- 3 T. mild flavored oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/4 c. chopped basil
- 2 T. toasted peanuts, chopped
Peel the papaya and cut it crosswise. Scrape out the seeds and then shred it. I used the shredding blade on my food processor, but check out this for a much more impressive way to do this step. Place in a large bowl.
Slice each peach into 8 or 10 pieces. I usually do this by using a paring knife to make parallel cuts right to the pit all the way around, and then insert the knife and sort of scrape along the pit to free the slices. Toss with papaya.
Juice the limes over the papaya and peaches, keeping out the pits.
In a separate bowl, combine honey, umeboshi vinegar, hot sauce, oil and garlic. Toss with the papaya mix until thoroughly combined. Add cilantro, basil and peanuts, toss once or twice and serve.