Inspired by Thai street dish “Som Tam,” we use ripe papaya (easier to find stateside) instead of the raw green papaya found in the Thai version and skip the dried shrimp. This is ubiquitous on the city streets, usually served with a side of sticky rice.
½ papaya, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, crushed
handful of cilantro
for the dressing:
½ clove garlic
½ red chili, de-seeded
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of ½ lime juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1. To make the dressing, add the garlic and the chili (use less if you don’t like it too spicy) to a mortar and pestle. Bash together to form a paste. Add to a mixing bowl with agave, fish sauce and lime. Whisk together until combined.
2. On a large plate, layer the papaya, carrots, cucumber, and tomato. Sprinkle cilantro and peanuts on top. Pour dressing over the top and give a gentle toss to combine (you want to be careful not to break the papaya).
It took a lot of parmesan to figure out how to make these just right. But it yielded the easiest recipe of all time. The cheese must be grated coarsely to get the most flavor and the right texture—crisp edges with a barely chewy middle.