If you hadn’t picked up on it, about a month ago, L~ and I got another roommate – one of my good friends from home, R~. She moved out to New York because I’ve been nagging her to do so for the past two years and she finally gave in and because of that,we’re having a lot of adventures, and a lot of studying (my job) and illustrations (her job) don’t get done on time, or at all, in my case.
R~ is one of my favorite people, and she is also one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Even when she tells me she doesn’t like something, she’s polite about it. “Well, I generally prefer not to eat shrimp, because their flavor can be a little fishy, but I’ll never turn down food that is prepared for me. That would be rude!”
Despite her polite objections to shellfish in general and shrimp in particular, I am on a not-so-sneaky campaign to change her mind. I love shellfish and I’m a little too selfish to stop eating them or leave them out of the cooking rotation just because someone else doesn’t like them. (I know, mean of me, right? I’ll work on that character flaw.)
So despite her skepticism (don’t they still have tails on?) and her expression of mild confusion (if I don’t like shellfish, and you’re going to serve them to me anyway, why are you making things worse by drenching them in fish sauce?) and the weather (cold, drizzly and overcast – decidely not salad weather), I made this salad. R~’s response? “Maybe shrimp aren’t so bad after all!”
I might win this war. (Or she’s just being polite…)
This salad is another example of Asian flavors and textures melding together to form an amazing whole. The sweet, chewy shrimp contrasts well with the cool, crisp cucumbers, which are offset by the crunch of savory shallots and sweet coconut, while the sharp flavors of the dressing draw the whole together and lift the otherwise pale flavors out of obscurity.
I made a few changes – modifying it to serve 2, rather than 4, switching out Vietnamese perilla for mint, because I couldn’t find perilla, and leaving out the chilis entirely, because I wasn’t looking to convince R~ to eat spicy food AND seafood.
Pim’s Cucumber Thai Salad
Adapted from Chez Pim.
Serves 2. Allow 20 minutes.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 large cucumbers
1/3 cup mint
1/3 cup cilantro
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 lb poached shrimp
1) Preheat the oven to 400. Spread out the coconut on a foil covered baking sheet and bake until the coconut is lightly browned and toasty. Stir every five minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat the canola oil over medium heat until a water droplet sizzle when it hits the surface. Peel and slice the shallots and fry them in the oil until crisp, then drain on paper towels.
3) Peel, seed and slice the cucumbers. (Peel and cut lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds with a tip of a spoon and slice the lengths into thin half-moons.)
4) Chop the mint and cilantro.
5) Stir together the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar, and squeeze in the lime. Adjust the dressing to taste.
6) Combine the herbs, half the dressing and the cucumbers in a large bowl, then portion out to individual plates. Top with the shrimp and drizzle with more dressing. Garnish with the shallots and coconut.
This is a late post in the 50 Women Game-Changers of Food challenge – Pim was week 19. Check out these other women who are blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – and find more information here.
Mary of One Perfect Bite | Joanne of Eats Well With Others | Val of More Than Burnt Toast | Susan of The Spice Garden | Heather of girlichef | Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney | Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Kathleen of Bakeaway with Me | Sue of The View from the Great Island | Linda of There and Back Again | Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds | Barbara of Moveable Feasts | Amy of Beloved Green | Linda of Ciao Chow Linda | Deborah of Taste and Tell | Barbara of Lines from Linderhof | Nancy of My Picadillo