This simple appetizer is an amazing way to showcase some delicious figs. I’d been wanting to wrap figs in prosciutto for a while now, but accidentally got slices of pancetta instead. I think in my mind I’d filed them as being the same thing. I did a little research and it seems like pancetta is thicker and less pliable, and cured with more spices than prosciutto. You can use either one here–prosciutto would probably be easier to wrap around the figs, and you might not even need the toothpicks.
There are lots of Vietnamese stores and restaurants in my neighborhood. On lazy days I do all my shopping at Truong Thinh, the Vietnamese market around the corner, and pick up a banh mi for lunch. One of my favorite places to eat is Pho Hoa, where I love to order the House Special Vermicelli Plate (number 90 in case you’re going–Pho Hoa is a chain and there might be one near you!). It comes with a bunch of delicious things, and rice paper wraps so you can make your own spring rolls. The first time I ordered it, the waiter brought the rice paper wraps first and Ben and I tried to take a bite of them. No dice. They are dry like paper until you soak them in hot water. Oops.
Anyway, the house special plate comes with those wraps (and a big bowl of hot water to soften them) and vermicelli, herbs and vegetables topped with grilled pork, meatballs, a spring roll, and shrimp & sugarcane. It also comes with fish sauce on the side. It’s SO good, and the grilled pork is my favorite. I don’t know what they do to it.
This dish is my attempt to recreate that dinner at home. I have to tell you, it’s really good, but it’s not QUITE the same flavor I get at the restaurant. You should still make it, though. It’s super yummy and healthy and beautiful (and lots of fun to photograph, if you’re into that). It has a lot of components, but almost all of them can easily be made in advance. When it’s time to eat, just cook the pork and put together your bowl!
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