Posts Tagged ‘poached prawn salad’

shrimp salad aboveshrimp salad closeLooking at the photos, you might think, “That doesn’t look like a ‘salade nicoise’,” and I’d have to agree. But we tend to try and do things bigger, brighter and a little differently here in California, and this salad definitely offers big taste and big color. It’s also delicious and fast and easy to prepare. So as far as I’m concerned, it checks all the boxes.

You can serve this salad for dinner when you want to eat on the lighter side–or the Paleo side, and it also makes a wonderful lunch salad if you’re having guests to your home.


1 head of red baby gem lettuce or 5-7 leaves of red-leaf lettuce

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 handful haricot verts, ends trimmed

1/2 lb large prawns, shelled except tails and deveined

1/2 a red bell pepperĀ (organic, if possible!*), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 fully-ripe heirloom tomato, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (any will do, but yellow provides good contrast)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp white or champagne vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste


Put a medium-sized pot of water on the stove to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Prepare a large bowl of ice water (or water in which you’ve dumped a bunch of ice cubes). When the water in the pot reaches boiling, toss in the haricot verts. Cook for 3-4 minutes until bright green but still very firm. Remove with tongs and immediately plunge the beans into the ice water. After 30 seconds or so, remove the beans with tongs and place on a tea towel to absorb the water.

Assuming you’ve left your pot of boiling water boiling, toss in the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are completely opaque in color. Remove with tongs and set aside.

Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and arrange on 2-4 plates or low bowls depending on whether you are serving the salad as a dinner entree, dinner side salad or lunch entree. Top with the heirloom tomato, bell pepper and avocado pieces. Cut the haricort verts crosswise in half and add to the salad. Arrange several prawns on top of each plate/bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the salads and serve immediately. Note: this salad is delicious at room temperature or even cold, but I think it’s best when the prawns are still warm from their cooking.


To bigger and brighter!


*They’re not always available, but it’s important to buy organic bell peppers over conventional when possible, because bell peppers are high on the list of pesticide-laden vegetables (e.g., “The Dirty Dozen”). If you have to buy conventional, use a good vegetable-washing spray, such as Veggie Wash, to remove pesticide residue.

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This “salad” dish is one of my favorites when I want something light and nutritious yet filling. It’s really not a salad, but I’m reluctant to call it a noodle dish since it has plenty of vegetables. A similar version was served to me in the Moss Room Cafeteria of the California Academy of Sciences. That was NOT the sort of place you would expect to find great food, but they do amazing job–particularly with their salads.

I like this dish because it boasts a medley of flavors, textures and colors, and it can be served warm or at room temperature. It’s also easy to prepare, although it’s best if you prepare the sweet pickles (or marinated cucumbers) ahead of time. I’ll typically make the sweet pickles at the start of the week and then use them for this poached prawn dish as well as one of my favorite lunches, which I’ll blog about next time.

Sweet Pickles (aka marinated cucumbers)

1 medium-size cucumber, thinly sliced

1 tbsp agave nectar

1 tbsp apple cider (or rice) vinegar

1 tbsp Ume plum vinegar (available at Whole Foods Markets or asian specialty stores)

Mix all the ingredients in a glass container with a lid. Shake well, then let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Now for the actual poached prawn dish…


2 bundles soba noodles (cooked per instructions: boil water, add noodles, cook for 4-6 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water)

2 carrots, peeled and grated

6-8 radishes thinly sliced

marinated cucumbers (recipe follows)

1/2 – 3/4 lb. raw prawns, peeled up to tails and deveined

pickled ginger (usually a small jar in the international section of a well-stocked supermarket or Whole Foods)

ponzu sauce (recipe follows)


Boil water in a medium-sized saucepan. Toss in prawns and cook until opaque–approximately 5 minutes. Drain. Arrange handful of noodles in a pasta bowl. Sprinkle sliced radishes and cucumbers around the outer edge. Place a small handful of grated carrot in the center of the noodles. Arrange the poached prawns on top. Top with pickled ginger. Spoon several tablespoons of ponzu sauce over the entire dish. Sprinkle furikake on the “tower.” Serves four.

Ponzu Sauce

Combine the following in a small bowl or glass jar:

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

* Nori Komi Furikake is a rice seasoning made of sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seaweed. It’s available from any asian markets as it’s very common in the traditional Japanese home.

Happy eating!

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