Chilled Maine Shrimp with Cabbage and Peanuts, Vietnamese-Style
At Summer Shack we love to mix chilled Maine shrimp, crisp Chinese or Napa cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts with a spicy Vietnamese dressing. The salad is refreshingly tart and crunchy, a perfect foil for soft and sweet Maine shrimp. Serve this as an appetizer, a light main-course salad, or even as a side dish with grilled tuna or other seafood.
Maine shrimp are often sold cooked and peeled, but if you want to use a different type of shrimp, you can substitute any peeled cooked shrimp; if they are large shrimp, they should be deveined. Cut larger shrimp on a bias into long thin (1/4–inch-thick) slices. Asian chile paste, sambal olek, can be found in upscale food markets—Tuong ot Toi Viet-nam from California (not Vietnam) is an excellent brand.
Serves4 as a hearty appetizer or light main course
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, main course
Dietary Considerationappetizer, main course
Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, herby, hot & spicy, light, nutty, savory, spiced
Type of Dishsalad
- 12 ounces chilled cooked and peeled Maine shrimp
- ½ small head Chinese or Napa cabbage (about 12 ounces)
- 20 sprigs (½ bunch) fresh cilantro
- 1 small head Boston lettuce
- 1 small carrot (2 ounces), peeled and grated
- ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons Asian chile paste (sambal olek)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Pick over the shrimp, discarding any pieces of shell. Cover and refrigerate.
Slice the cabbage into chiffonade (very thin strips) about 1 to 2 inches long. Slice 12 of the cilantro sprigs (stems and leaves) very thin; reserve the remainder for garnish. Separate and wash the Boston lettuce leaves. keep everything well chilled until ready to mix the salad.
To make the dressing: Mix the vinegar, fish sauce, peanut oil, chile paste, ginger and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside at room temperature.
When ready to serve the salad, combine the shrimp, cabbage, carrot, sliced cilantro, and two-thirds of the chopped peanuts with the dressing and toss well. Line four small soup plates or salad plates with the tender leaves of lettuce and divide the shrimp and cabbage mixture evenly among them, mounding it is the center. Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts of the salad and garnish with the cilantro sprigs.
2007 Jasper White