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Asian Shrimp Salad with Vegetables and Herbs

If you prefer, this dish can also be made with two pounds of chicken or pork. Prepare and serve it the same way you would the shrimp. Feel free to add or omit any fresh vegetables or herbs based on availability.

  • Servings: 8

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2005

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp (about 5 dozen), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce, plus more for dipping sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more for dipping sauce, plus 2 limes cut into wedges for garnish (about 6 limes total)
  • 2 fresh green chiles, such as jalapeno, serrano, or Thai chiles, thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 or 2 small fresh green or red chiles, for dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise, rings separated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 piece (2 inches) peeled fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce, outer leaves discarded, remaining leaves separated
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch scallions, halved lengthwise
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 4-inch matchsticks
  • 8 ounces string beans, trimmed (blanched, if desired)
  • 1/2 small seedless watermelon, dark-green skin removed (leaving 1/2 inch of rind), flesh cut into thin 1 1/2-inch triangles (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai or regular basil (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 5 ounces)

Directions

  1. Pulse garlic and salt in a food processor until coarsely chopped, 2 or 3 times. Add shrimp; pulse until shrimp pieces are the size of small peas. (Do not puree)

  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp mixture and granulated sugar. Cook, stirring often, just until shrimp have cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 8 hours.

  3. Heat fish sauce and the brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in cayenne and lime juice. Set aside. (Dressing can be refrigerated up to 1 hour.)

  4. Just before serving, add 1 sliced chile, the peanuts, and shallots to the shrimp mixture; toss to combine. Stir in dressing to taste; reserve any dressing that remains for dipping sauce.

  5. Add remaining sliced and whole chiles and the ginger to the remaining dressing to make dipping sauce. Add equal parts fish sauce and lime juice to yield about 1/2 cup dipping sauce. Arrange lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, cucumber, string beans, watermelon, herbs, and lime wedges on a platter. Serve with shrimp salad and the dipping sauce.

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