Jun 14, 2015

Oh So Good TROPICAL SALADS!

Hawaiian Pahole Fern Salad
Now that summer is here, it's time for tropical salads. This time of year fresh mango, papaya, avocado, watermelon, lychee, etc. are abundant here in Hawaii. Some of these ingredients are not available in many places other than Hawaii, but many are. First of all you have to want a tropical salad enough to go and find the ingredients, that way it actually tastes better, especially if you buy locally at places like our farmers market here on Moloka'i.


Pahole (Fern) Salad
Pahole fern is grown year round on Maui and Moloka'i. Locals usually make a fern salad using local fish like tenderized ophi, local marinated sliced octopus, or cuttlefish. Top Hawaii chefs will add cooked lobster or scallops to the salad. To find out more about pahole fern and where to get it on Moloka'i, click here

Click on photo to view larger
Ingredients for salad:
1 big bunch of 'pahole' (1 1/2 pounds)

3 pounds of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 Maui onion, chopped (or red onion)
1 cup of carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup of red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 pound of kimchi marinated sliced octopus
1 watermelon radish sliced thin and quartered for garnish
sesame seeds for garnish

Ingredients for dressing:
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1/3 cup of olive oil or macadamia nut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons fish sauce (Patis), or 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Procedure:
Wash the fern thoroughly. Break the ends off of the fern like you would raw asparagus to find the tender part of the stim, then cut fern into 3/4-inch pieces. Blanch the fern in salted boiling water along with the carrots, red pepper and onion until "crisp tender" for about 30 seconds, then drain and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain the vegetables, gently blot with paper towels and place in a bowl, then refrigerate.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar and lime juice, oil, honey, fish sauce, and black pepper to taste. Gently stir the dressing and pour it over the fern and other vegetables. Cover and chill for one hour. Taste the salad for additional seasoning if needed, then garnish with octopus pieces, watermelon radishes and sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings.


Mango Cucumber Crab Salad
All of these ingredients are available locally here on Moloka'i

Ingredients:
2 medium sized cucumber (Japanese variety)
6 pieces of imitation crabmeat (surimi)
1 large ripe mango (Haden variety if possible) Moloka'i Farmers Market when in season
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or try my Thai Salad Dressing or Sweet Ginger Dressing
1 head of Boston lettuce
1 sheet of nori cut into thin strips (optional)

Procedure:
Peel 2 medium sized cucumbers and cut into julienne strips. Place the julienned strips of cucumber in a bowl. Next get 5-6 pieces of imitation crabmeat (surimi) and separate it into thin strips. Set aside.

Get a ripe mango, peeled and cut into thin strips.

Combine your julienned cucumber, crabmeat strips and mango strips in bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise or one of the others recommended. Gently fold your ingredients together until everything is coated. Place your salad on a bed of lettuce and serve immediately. As an option you may garnish your salad with nori strips. Makes 2 servings.


Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
This salad is all about texture and the flavors of Southeast Asia where it is hugely popular. Green papaya salad is usually eaten with barbecue or grilled chicken and a portion of sticky rice. The dish is made from unripe green papaya, which has a firm white flesh and white seeds, and can sometimes be hard to find. If you are going to make it, look for rock-hard dark green papaya without a trace of pink or yellow blush on the outside. Normally this salad is made with a lot of hot chilies, but I prefer it with just one chili in the dressing.

Green Papaya Salad
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Ingredients for dressing:
2 large garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably nuoc mam)
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chili (1 to 2 inches long) or serrano chili, or to taste, seeded and chopped fine (wear rubber gloves)

Ingredients for salad:
1/2 pound small shrimp, shelled
3/4 pound green papaya, peeled, seeded, and shredded, or julienned into 2-3 inch strips 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor (about 3 cups)
1 carrot, julienned the same size as the green papaya
1/2 cup cut long beans - 1 1/2-inch-long segments (or substitute with regular green beans)
1 tomato, cut into bite-size wedges; or 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, no stems, washed well and spun dry
4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
mint or Thai basil sprigs for garnish

Procedure:
In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved, set aside.

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook shrimp 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cooked through. In a colander drain shrimp and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Halve shrimp horizontally. Add shrimp, papaya, carrot, beans, tomatoes, and cilantro to dressing, tossing well. Salad may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. Serve salad sprinkled with chopped peanuts, garnish with a sprig of mint and Thai basil. Makes 4-6 servings. Note: It is important to julienne the papaya, carrots and long beans as thin as possible, otherwise this salad can be a challenge on your jaws.


Thai Chicken and Watermelon Salad
Ingredients:
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, pale inner core only, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied
2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, cut in 1/2 inch slices, then cut into rounds.
1/4 cup each of chopped cilantro and mint

Procedure:
In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into slices.

In a mini food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and water and pulse until the chiles and garlic are finely chopped. Pour the dressing over the chicken and watermelon rounds. Sprinkle with cilantro and mint. Makes 4 servings.


Garlic Shrimp Salad
Ingredients:
4 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound medium-sized cooked shrimp, best bought still frozen
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, discarding bottom fourth
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 fresh tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 3 teaspoons dried parsley if fresh is not available)
small head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Ingredients for the dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Procedure:
Press garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out its hidden health benefits. Make sure shrimp is completely thawed and patted dry with a paper towel, or it will dilute the flavor of the salad. Add broth to medium skillet and after it has heated up, sauté asparagus for 5 minutes. Whisk together lemon, oil, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss shrimp, asparagus, parsley, and tomato with dressing and herbs. Allow shrimp salad to marinate for at least 15 minutes or for up to 2 hours, covered and refrigerated. Discard outer leaves of lettuce head, rinse, dry, and chop. Serve shrimp mixture on bed of lettuce and top with crumbled goat cheese, if desired. Makes 4 servings.


Fresh Fruit Salad 
with Sweet Ginger Dressing
Ingredients for salad: 
a mixture of sliced fresh fruit (mango, papaya, orange slices, bananas, pears, grapes, etc., whatever is in season) on a bed of watercress, or other salad greens that you like.

Ingredients for dressing:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Procedure:
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Serve over your favorite salad greens with fresh fruit. Makes 2 1/3 cups of dressing, enough for 6-8 salads.


Pineapple Slaw
Ingredients for slaw:
4 cups cabbage (shredded)
4 slices fresh pineapple (diced)
1 cup carrots (shredded)
1/2 cup apple (chopped)
2 tablespoons green bell pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoons red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Procedure:
Combine vegetables in a bowl. In smaller bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in the vinegar, then pour over slaw mix. Sprinkle with black pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Makes 4 servings.

For more of my salads, click here, or look under salads in the recipe index above.

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