Green Papaya Salad

The wide world of ethnic dishes can be challenging when it comes to wine pairing. Many times a server will suggest an ice cold beer when it comes to the flavors of Latin America or the Pacific rim. But here, more than ever is a time to look to ingredients such as cilantro, mint, fish sauce, lime as well as shellfish and cooling vegetables such as cucumber and avocado.

Those culinary flavor profiles match well with the refreshing characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc. California's Livermore wine region produces many fine wines with a delicate balance of fresh fruit flavor and tartness that are a perfect match for many international dishes with these ingredients.

I tasted the Steven Kent "Lola" 2013 Sauvignon Blanc with friends over the Memorial weekend. We all loved the clean crisp style of the wine. Those flavors immediately made me think of some wonderful, fresh tropical Thai salads. I knew the characteristic funkiness of the fish sauce balanced with palm sugar and lime in my green papaya salad would go together really well. Here is that recipe. Although Thai cuisine sometimes is mistakenly classified as excessively spicy by some, not all Thai dishes are hot.  In this dish, I aimed for balance and refreshment over heat level. For that reason I think this is a great pairing, and hope you will agree.

Green Papaya Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 1 oz. palm sugar, grated (brown sugar can be substituted)
  • 1 key lime or half of a lime(cut into pieces)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 of one Serrano chili (seeds removed)
  • 2 oz. green beans cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 2 cups peeled and shredded green papaya
  • 6 grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts

Combine palm sugar, lime pieces, garlic and Serrano chili in mortar and smash down to make a paste with the pestle. Alternatively, you could pulse this combination in a food processor. If using mortar and pestle, add green beans and bruise them with pestle by pounding several times. Pound the papaya as well, several times.  Add fish sauce, pomegranate molasses, papaya and remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Stir vigorously to mix.

Add tomatoes and toss. Garnish with chopped peanuts.



Chef Julie

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