Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Green Papaya Salad with Olive Oil-Lemongrass Poached Shrimp

Copyright 2010 by Cooking With The Single Guy


For shrimp
6 medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
2-3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 lemongrass, chopped
Salt for seasoning

For salad
1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded into julienne strips (about 3-4 cups)
2 carrot sticks, shredded into julienne strips (about 1 cup)
1 T fresh mint, minced (reserve some for garnish)
1 T sesame seeds, toasted (reserve some for garnish)

For dressing
Juice from 2 to 3 limes
3 T fish sauce
2 T sugar
1 chili pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced

Start by poaching your shrimp. Clean and season your shrimp pieces (retain the tail for appearance). In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil and toss in the lemongrass pieces and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and throw in the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and place on paper towels to remove excess oil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing. Then toss in the green papaya, carrots, mint and sesame seeds. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. When ready to serve, remove ingredients from large bowl and place on plates, then top with shrimp and garnish with sesame seeds and mint.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Pair with a glass of Torrontes wine (white wine from Argentina).

TIP: You can prepare your shrimp earlier and refrigerate until ready to eat. Same for the salad. In fact, it helps to let the green papaya sit in the dressing to soak up the taste. But when ready to serve, shake off excess dressing. Don’t serve the salad sitting in dressing.

GREEN PAPAYA: This really is a green papaya, and you mostly find them in Chinatown or Asian or Mexican grocery stores. Be sure to peel away the green skin and then eat only the flesh (toss out the seeds in the center).

HOT OIL: I like poaching the shrimp in olive oil because I feel the oil is healthier for you than butter, for example. But oil is used to fry things so you have to be careful not to turn up the heat on the oil or else you’ll fry up your lemongrass pieces or your shrimp. A low heat is the technique for poaching. You can even warm up the oil and poach your shrimp with the oil off the heat. Use enough oil to full submerge your shrimp. To save on oil, use a really small saucepan.


Carolyn Jung said...

I always order this at Vietnamese restaurants, too. Have never made it, myself. But you inspire me to try my hand at it in this new year. Yours looks so utterly refreshing with all its vivid colors and crunchy textures. I'd dig my chopsticks into that in a heartbeat.

egg to the apples said...

I definitely trying this.

Kim said...

Wow! You've inspired me to try this because you make it look so easy.

Kim said...

Did you use that new knife for the carrots, too?

Hungry Dog said...

This looks incredible! I love this salad too and have never thought to make it. Very inspiring, Single Guy. And I'm totally intrigued by the julienning tool--looks like I have an excuse to hit Sur la Table soon!

Single Guy Ben said...

Kim, I used my julienne tool for the carrots too, just so there's a consistency in look and texture. It's trickier holding the carrot, so I bought thicker carrots and held the thick end and just ran the tool down the side to the point. Once you get the rhythm of it all, it's easy!

Carroll said...

Love the julienne tool! Definitely adding that to next cool tools shop stop.

But, I'm twitchy about the whole "poach in oil" thing. Did you really mean 2-3 Cups?? That's a LOT of oil! And I'm not really grasping why/how the results would be very much different than quickly cooking them to whatever degree of doneness is required in maybe 2-3t (or T at most) instead.

Besides, I think of "poaching" as meaning to cook gently in almost any sort of water/wine/vinegar-based broth, juice, stock...not ever anything oily though.

Is this some standard Asian cooking technique with which I am unfamiliar?

Wouldn't be just as good, lots less expensive (3C oil for just six shrimp could get kinda pricey) and even healthier, to poach them in lemongrass-infused water and be done with it?

Does the oil process impart a necessary flavor nuance?

What else am I missing here??

Sorry if this is a totally ignorant culinary question. I stand eagerly ready to be enlightened :-)

Single Guy Ben said...

Carroll, I just decided to poach the shrimp that way because I've seen a lot of chefs do it on TV or at cooking demos recently. Mostly they've done it in butter or fat. The slow poaching in fat like oil or butter is mostly to get the soft tender texture. It's probably a real subtle nuanced flavor. I did feel like my shrimp was softer but firm. I actually didn't use all 3 cups, I just used more like 1.5 cups because, yeah, that's a lot of oil.

You could probably slow cook your shrimp in liquid or broth. Again, the fat poaching, I'm guessing, is for the texture. I mean, just imagine if you sat in a bath of olive oil. :)

Carroll said...

Gooood point about a bath of olive oil! If I decide to research that personally, I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out :-)

A said...

how much is the fancy julienne knife at Sur La Table? how much do green papaya at 99R cost?

Single Guy Ben said...

A, it's been awhile since I bought the julienne tool so I can't remember exactly the cost. But it's around $13.99 or $15.99. One of those. Kind of pricey for a tool, but so useful I think!