Sweet Dublin bay prawns with creamy avocado and tangy citrus fruits, tossed in a caramelized ginger dressing
Salads are supposed to be good for you. Light, healthy, and nutritious but only up to a point. That point being when you reach for your favourite dressing, be it caesar, mayo, or salad cream. But whats a salad without a dressing? The dressing is what makes a salad tick and brings all the flavours, textures, and tastes together.
This salad is no different. It’s all about the dressing. Caramelized spicy ginger with sweet honey and slightly tart raspberry vinegar all whisked together in extra virgin olive oil. It’s a dressing you can use on any salad, and it happens to work really well with duck but maybe I shouldn’t have said that seen as this is a seafood blog and all.
Its a little bit like Thai sweet chilli but without the heat from the chillies. When it cools down it turns glossy and thick, coating salad leaves in tangy sweetness. When I make this dressing I find the best way to peel the ginger is with a spoon. It’s great for getting into all the nooks and crannies on this nobly spice and removes just the very outer layer of skin.
In this salad it’s been teamed up with creamy avocados, sweet Dublin bay prawns, zesty citrus fruits and crunchy endive for a plate full of contrasting colours, textures, and tastes.
I love avocados but don’t bother with them too often because trying to find a ripe one down the supermarket is like looking for a needle in a haystack. When I’m out shopping you can spot me in the veg section feeling up the avocados hoping to find a couple of perfectly ripe ones. Most of the time their like rocks so I just buy the ones that are closest to ripeness and finish off the process on the windowsill at home.
Often I’ll forget about them, or get caught out by how quickly they turn from rock hard bullets to soft mush. Theres nothing more frustrating than trying to peel an avocado that despite your best efforts turns to green putty in your hand, and is so over ripe its only really good for making guacamole. Pass the nachos!
Avocados have gotten a bad rap because their supposedly high in cholesterol and fat. They do have quite a few calories but on the flip side their packed with potassium and other goodies and most of the fat they do have is the good stuff and unsaturated.
The prawns I used in my salad are Dublin bay or langoustines (their expensive but the best and a bit of a treat) but any prawn would work well too. Just make sure you divane them and when you cook them a quick dunk for just 20 seconds in some rapidly boiling water is long enough.
Prawns and shellfish in general are similar to avocados in so much as they have a bad reputation when it comes to diet. They’re supposed to be fattening, high in calories, and contain lots of cholesterol. The good news is that its the type of cholesterol thats dietary and doesn’t clog the arteries. Prawns are a good source of protein and omega 3 so you can eat them guilt free. Unless of course you’re planning to saute them in a load of garlic butter…yum!
Finally endive, aka chicory the leaf with two names, its probably way down your list of greens to use in a salad. Theres a whole host of much trendier leaves out there on supermarket shelves and at farmers markets. The ever popular rocket and baby spinach have been joined by a lot of leaves with interesting textures and flavours.
Endive has fallen a bit out of favour and many don’t enjoy its slightly bitter flavour, but its a wonderfully crunchy salad that can stand up to many strong flavours and works really well with sweet ingredients and dressings like in this salad. Not only that but it’s tightly bunched leaves can be used in a stir fry, sautéed in olive oil, or even braised…let me see rocket do that.
When was the last time you tried an endive?
I wish i’d managed to come up with this recipe all by myself, unfortunately I’m not that talented. You can find the original recipe here at gourmande in the kitchen. Sylvie is one of my favourite food bloggers with a real talent for awesome food photography and making food thats good for you look irresistible. Although I’m a confirmed carnivore I’ve been known to make some of her veggie recipes from time to time.
Gently heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan over a gentle heat.
Add your chopped ginger, shallot, and garlic to the pan and cook gently for about 3 minutes till they begin to soften.
Next add the honey and turn up the heat. When the dressing begins to caramelize and go slightly brown pour in the vinegar.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remainder of the olive oil. Allow the dressing to cool while you make the salad.
To make the salad
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Slide in the prawns and cook for 20 second, no longer. Remove the prawns from the water and allow to cool.
Peel and segment the oranges and grapefruit and set aside
Cut the bottom stalk off the endive and separate out the leaves.
Next peel the avocados and remove the center stone. Cut each half avocado into 4 wedges.
To assemble your salad place the avocados, citrus fruit, and endive in a large bowl and mix together. Divide the mix between four large plates. Top each salad with the prawns and drizzle the ginger dressing over the top