Choose Oyster Sauce

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Continuing the recipes from that ripped out page from the September 2006 issue of Food and Wine, I made Spicy Ginger Pork in Lettuce Leaves and Spicy Shrimp and Cellophane-Noodle Salad.  Once the prep was done, both were very good and very easy.  The components are versatile, allowing for various spin offs, lest my boredom.  The stir-fried ground pork with water chestnuts and red pepper, which is supposed to be an elegant appetizer, nestled in lettuce leaves, can be made into a less dainty Thai salad over chopped lettuce and a sprinkling of toasted rice powder.  Or over rice itself for a main course.  The shrimp and noodles are supposed to be a salad in itself with whole leaves of mint, basil and cilantro, but I minced up the herbs to have it over lettuce.  It will also make for good summer rolls, for another interpretation.

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I attribute the success of these two recipes, not necessarily to my prowess, but to oyster sauce.  I have made version of Vietnamese noodle salad before and this dressing has been the best, due to the richness of the oyster sauce which incorporates the lime and fish sauce so well.  The sauce also enhances the pork for more salty, meaty goodness.  Blame it on the MSG, the unabashed fourth ingredient on the bottle.  It’s as un-PC as margarine, but it does make everything better.

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