Based on a westernized Thai beef salad, with avocado in place of beef, this is essential summer eating.
3 Tbsp light vegetable oil 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 2 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp salt 1 tsp grated or crushed palm sugar (or substitute raw sugar) 1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely chopped Juice squeezed from 2 Tbsp coarsely grated ginger 1 fresh hot red chilli, halved deseeded and very finely chopped 2 fresh limes 2 perfectly ripe avocados ½ small iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces ½ telegraph cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced ½ large red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced then chopped 2 slim spring onions (scallions), trimmed and thinly sliced ½ cup mint leaves 1-2 cups coriander (cilantro) leaves 2 Tbsp crispy caramelised shallots
1 Mix the vegetable oil in a bowl with the lime juice, fish sauce, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger juice and chilli. Peel the limes with a serrated knife, then slice in between each piece of membrane and release the lime fillets. Cut them into small pieces and add to the dressing along with any juice; squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl as well.
2 Halve avocados, remove stones then peel. Chop flesh. Put the lettuce, cucumber, red pepper and spring onions on a large platter and scatter over most of the herbs. Mix the dressing ingredients together and spoon some over the salad. Add the avocado and remaining herbs, then spoon over the rest of the dressing Toss gently and put the avocado on top, scatter with the rest of the herbs over then spoon the rest of the dressing over the top. Sprinkle with shallots and serve immediately.
Delicious as it is, you can make it more substantial by topping with sautéed prawns. The salad, minus the lettuce is also great rolled up in rice paper wrappers, or more simply, wrap everything in iceberg lettuce leaves instead of using them as a base for the salad.