So Cali

I’m no lobster girl. Should I offend, I apologize.

I find prawns to have sweeter flavour, it’s almost as if all the umami of a lobster were condensed into the size of a shrimp. They’re less vicious, because if one’s going to splurge on seafood, might as well get it live, right? Choosing prawns over lobsters are by far friendlier to planet Earth as well; did you know, lobsters can easily live up to 150 years (without us eating them faster than they can reproduce), and it takes a decade for a lobster to reach a size presentable at restaurants? Even the “chick” lobsters take at least 5 to 7 years –  that’s more than the lifespan of beef cattle, who are sent to the slaughter house at 24 months. Notice how the size of lobsters being dished up are getting punier and punier?

Eat prawns, but shun the farmed stuff. Get them wild, too. Now now, there’s no need to get paranoid just because of what I just made your brain accept. Nearly everything is alright in moderation – you don’t need a pound of the stuff, 200g is enough for two people. That’s about 6 large prawns.

So my mum surprised me with half a dozen of these gloriously plump tiger prawns freshly caught off the cold waters of B.C., and off goes my mental fireworks shooting off to California. I don’t know, I might need some sun (daylight savings is in 3 days!!). Of course I did not want to tamper with them too much, so I made a salad, sort of, with six ingredients. I tossed the prawns in just enough mayonnaise and a touch of wasabi, chopped some avocado and drizzled it with a squeeze of lemon juice, an cut out inch-thick steaks of sunny ripe mango.

Perhaps I don’t need the sun so much after all?


Ingredients for the cali stacked salad:

6 large wild black tiger prawns, peeled, blanched then plunged in ice water

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1/4 tsp wasabi paste

1 ripe, but firm mango, peeled

1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

radish sprouts or wasabi peas, to garnish

extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

To make the salad, chop the prawns into small pieces, and mix well with the mayonnaise and wasabi paste. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, “fillet” the mango so you get two large whole halves (discard the seed). Use a round cookie cutter (5 cm diameter) to cut out two thick rounds. Trim them so they’re nice and even in thickness.

Mix together the avocado and lemon juice.

To assemble, place a round cookie cutter (the same size as the one used for stamping out the mango) on a clean plate. Put a mango round back into the cookie cutter. Put another cookie cutter on top to add height, then spoon in some of the avocado mixture, pressing down gently to compact it. Finally, spoon half of the prawns over the avocado, packing it down again. Gently lift the cookie cutters. Voila, here’s a pretty stacked salad! Now just garnish with some peppery wasabi peas or radish sprouts!


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