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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Asian-Infused Shrimp Watermelon Salad

I love food. From a good piece of toast to Paella, food moves me. Simple or complex, hot or cold, savory or sweet. I sample it all. I try it all. I make it all. Some of it's disgusting, but most of it's not. I don't mind taking a chance to hit the mark.

This Asian-infused shrimp watermelon salad is a great blend of flavors and textures, and is a perfect meal for a hot day. A swift mix of cool and spice. Here's what you do:

Lay out a bed of spinach on a plate (or not if you don't like spinach- it's not an essential ingredient to this dish).

Skin, de-seed and slice into matchstick slivers 1 cucumber. For this one, I used regular, but Japanese or hothouse varieties work well. Set aside.

Chop into 1/2 in cubes a handful of watermelon for each plate. Set aside.

Take uncooked shrimp and squeeze lime all over them. Let em sit in the juice for about 10 minutes. Drain the juice and return the shrimps to your bowl. Generously salt, pepper, and cayenne those bad boys. Stir it up real nice to spread the flavor. Now dump about 1 or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (or flour or Panko) into your bowl and stir again.

Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. Place the shrimp in one at a time. Cook about 3 minutes and flip. You should see a nice crust form. Don't overcook them. Opaque doesn't mean white. The best cooked shrimp is still a bit translucent. Drain them as they cook and set aside.

Cook Somen noodles according to instructions. Drain and douse with ice water. Don't let the noodles stay in water or they'll turn to mush. After the noodles are cold and well drained, swirl them on top of your spinach.

Add the cucumber and watermelon to your plate. Now add the shrimp on top. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and oh, slice up a red pepper for added heat.

Now for your "dressing"- Take about 1/4 of rice vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir to dissolve. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Hon Dashi (I like the pellet type, but you can use powder too. The one on this link looks like a whole meal kit, but I buy the dashi pellets at my local 99 Ranch Market.) Add a few drops or a quick splash of sesame oil. Mix it all up like you would a dressing and pour it over your salad.

You probably want to make the dressing first, chop everything, then cook your noodles, then assemble it all - in that order.

Good eatin'


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