grilled thai seafood salad

August 16th, 2010 § 7

We’re crazy about Thai food. Its artful balance of spicy, sour, sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy, and yummy has us permanently hunting for new Thai recipes and restaurants. We always have Thai chiles in the freezer and often use them in spontaneous ways: our neighbour Krish had us doing chile shooters one night last winter. You bite off half a chile, knock it back with a slug of vodka, and then bite into a wedge of lime. Instant endorphins.

Tahi_Seafood_Salad

Like the chile shooters, this salad is not for the faint of heart. The baby octopus often twist and contort themselves when they hit the hot grill, and if you’ve never smelled fish sauce before, you’re in for an interesting surprise.

Mizuna_lettuce

But once this all comes together on the plate, you won’t believe what a brilliant combination of flavours the salad presents – sour mango, fragrant basil, sweet pea, peppery greens, and perfectly charred seafood, all kissed with lemongrass, chile and lime.

Mizuna_lettuce_2

Mizuna greens have a wonderful green, grassy flavour that pairs well with sauvignon blanc.

Grilled Thai Seafood Salad

adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly book of Main Course Salads. (A really terrific book.)

NOTES: Be sure to cool the seafood before mixing it into the salad, or it will wilt the greens. You can replace the peanut oil with another light-tasting vegetable oil – do not use olive oil, it has too strong a flavour. And don’t be tempted to cut the squid into rings – they fall through the grates of the grill.

for the dressing

2 – 4 small red Thai chiles, seeded and minced
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 C peanut oil
¼ C finely chopped lemongrass
¼ C lime juice

for the salad

250 g squid hoods
250 g shrimp, deveined and shelled, tails intact
250 g baby octopus, cleaned and halved lengthwise
1 large green mango, sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
250 g sharp greens (we use a mix of mizuna and watercress)
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
100 g pea sprouts
1 C Thai basil leaves, torn

Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a lid.

Cut each squid hood open lengthwise, without cutting it in half, so you can open it up and lay it flat. Score it with a knife in a diamond pattern, then cut the hood into bite-sized squares or rectangles. The scoring will help the squid lay flat while grilling. Combine all the seafood in a bowl with half the dressing and marinate for two hours.

Assemble the other salad ingredients in a large bowl, then grill the seafood in batches. Cool the seafood for a few minutes before mixing it into the salad. Dress lightly with some of the remaining vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Thai_Seafood_Salad_2

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§ 7 Responses to “grilled thai seafood salad”

  • Wei-Wei says:

    Mmm. The flavours sound delicious! The chili shooters sound intense.

    Wei-Wei

  • I had never thought to keep my chiles in the freezer–just put them in a ziploc and they’re fine??

  • Sounds delicious!!

  • Rob says:

    Yep, chiles freeze really well. Its a very practical way to keep them and they work just about as well as fresh.

  • Cat says:

    Mmmmm! All my favorite things on one plate! And I have that book! If you’re into Aussie-fied Thai food, I’ll bring you some others. I just made Bill Granger’s fresh peach and raspberry slice. He’s by far my favorite Aussie chef.

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  • JimG says:

    In my experience, scoring the squid and then cutting it bite size for cooking will produce small cylinders of squid with the scored face out. It’s attractive, but it’s likely that many pieces will shrink enough to fall through the grill, and all the cylinders will be small bite-size. I’d suggest that, after scoring the outside surface, cut it into slightly larger pieces, at least 1 inch by 1 inch squares.
    A variant is to tilt the knife blade almost parallel to the surface while scoring IN ONE DIRECTION, the scoring in the other direction being made perpendicular to the surface; This produces a petal effect when cooked.

    If you want squid to lay flat on a grill, you might try slashing all the way through, leaving the narrow strips connected at the top and bottom end. Cutting this for service is a problem, so I’d go with the curly cylinders.

    Re the dressing: two hours in lime juice should take you well down the road to ceviche. I’d cut down the quantity of lime juice, or eliminate it from the marinade. One might reserve a teaspoon of the marinade BEFORE putting in the seafood, and then dress the greens and veg items with the reserved liquid plus a dash of lime juice.

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