Okay, let’s start with shrimp. I have a real fondness for Vietnamese food because of the freshness of the ingredients and the spicy kick from the peppers. So here is:
Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp & Peanuts
1 ½ tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 pound medium raw Alaska spot or side-stripe shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded into thin long strands
(about 4 cups), rinsed and spun dry
1/3 cup thinly shredded carrots, soaked in cold water and drained
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut in thirds
2 tablespoons fried shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Thai bird or ½ serrano chili, chopped
5 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
For the dressing, combine the garlic, chilies, 4 teaspoons sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and water in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the remaining sugar, lemongrass, shallots, chili flakes, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and stir well. Add the shrimp; toss gently and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Grill or pan-sear the shrimp in an oiled skillet over high heat until just done, about 2 to
3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Put the cooked shrimp, shredded papaya, carrots, basil and fried shallots in a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently to evenly coat all ingredients. Sprinkle the peanuts into the bowl, then toss and transfer to a serving dish.