food / summer vietnamese salad

One of my favorite salads to eat, especially in this hot summer weather, is this Vietnamese salad that consists of just red-leaf lettuce with thinly sliced beef (from beef top round), hard-boiled eggs, and tomatoes topped with a wonderfully light Asian, homemade vinaigrette.

You do not need to have a lot of vinaigrette for this salad, but it depends on your preference. 

Vietnamese Vinaigrette:
1 part water
1/2 part sugar
1/4 part salt
1 part olive oil
1 part fresh or dried shallots
1/2 part vinegar
ground black pepper for seasoning

I put this recipe into parts so that you can adjust the recipe to whatever amount of dressing you want. For one head of lettuce, one part equating two teaspoons or one tablespoon will be a sufficient amount of dressing. If you are still confused, for example, one part water can mean one tablespoon of water, 1/2 part sugar means 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, etc. 

First, combine sugar and water in a small or medium-sized glass bowl and microwave it for about ten seconds; this is to dissolve the sugar in the water. Mix the sugar and water until the sugar is well dissolved; add the salt into the mixture and stir.

On the stovetop, heat a small pan with olive oil. Add fresh shallots and cook the shallots until they caramelize. (An easier method that I do is use dried shallots and put it in a pan with olive oil just to warm up the shallots.) Now put the shallots and olive oil into the glass bowl with the sugar, salt, and water. Lastly, add vinegar and a little ground pepper for seasoning. Your vinaigrette should have a little bit of a tangy taste due to the vinegar. If it is too tangy, add more water or olive oil. If it seems bland, add more salt or sugar to your liking. You will find out soon how you would like the dressing to taste. Enjoy! I hope you will like it as much as I do. 

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