For the dressing:
- In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Gradually whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Set aside.
For the meat:
- Put the peanuts in the food processor and whirl until they are the texture of rough cornmeal. Remove and set aside.
- Peel the lemongrass and slice into thin pieces and put in the food processor. Add the ginger, garlic, shallot and process until finely minced. Add half the cilantro, including stems and leaves as well as the chile and process again.
- Using your hands mix the ground meat, 3/4 cup ground peanuts and lemongrass mixture together in a bowl.
- Add half of the dressing to the meat mixture and combine with your hands. Set the remaining dressing aside.
- Heat a skillet, add 1 T olive oil and when it begins to shimmer add the meat mixture. Cook the mixture until done, about 7 – 10 minutes.
To serve lettuce wrap style:
- Scoop the cooked meat mixture into lettuce wrap cups and serve with remaining dressing, remaining peanuts, cucumber slices, fresh mint and basil, diced mango, julienned red pepper or whatever fresh garnishes you prefer.
To serve salad style:
- Put the lettuce or cabbage in a shallow serving bowl, top with cooked meat mixture and garnish with remaining peanuts, cucumber slices, fresh mint and basil, diced mango, julienned red pepper or whatever fresh garnishes you prefer. Toss with remaining dressing and serve.
To serve to-go lunch style:
Put dressing in bottom of a mason jar, followed by cooked meat, garnishes and lettuce or cabbage. Cover with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve. Turn mason jar upside down and give it a good shake to dress the salad.