With one more week of lodging with some kind and generous people and finding our way in their kitchen, we are coming to an end of the creative use-what-you’ve-got era of 2009. Soon to move in to our own apartment in London after a long journey, which started in June of this year in New Zealand, our happy feet are finding their way in a city we are falling in love with all over again.
Tonight though, I remained tasked with creating a meal to share with people who aren’t quite as salad crazy as I am. I considered what they might find fulfilling in a meal they say usually leaves them hungry. I’ve come to appreciate that most people like a little heaviness to their salads. Whether they add scoops of chickpeas, wedges of cheese or some meat to do this, ultimately what they’re hoping to do is create a meal that “touches the sides”. I usually seek a light salad, especially on an August night, so to make sure we could all happily enjoy the same platter, I made prawns the focal point and ensured much flavor and textural variety was present in the whole dish.
Served on a base of mixed greens and fragrant herbs, the prawns are sweetened with honey and coconut, brightened with lime zest and spiced with a little Cajun seasoning. To add crunch and a flavor to match the prawns intensity, I tossed in some celery, scallions and diced red bell pepper and topped the plate with some fresh Italian basil. The half a tomato you see nestling to the side was part of the first crop (of two!) tomatoes for the season.
The flavors throughout the meal were bright and pronounced and this will definitely be a meal that becomes part of our regular weeknight rotation in that routine we’re coming to crave and long for. As it was my body felt satisfied, but I do have a thing for spicy prawns and could easily have eaten double the amount, rather than stretching one packet between the four of us. In fact, seasoned as described here, I could eat a bowl of those prawns, curled up and getting sucked in to a television show any night of the week.
Cajun Prawn Salad
Serves 4… just about.
24 Prawns (or 48!)
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
4 tbsp runny honey
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 stick of celery
2 Scallions (Spring Onions)
1 Red Bell Pepper
Mix of greens including arugula (rocket), cilantro (fresh coriander) and chives
Fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and black pepper
And if it so fits, 2 cherry tomatoes from the garden
Mix together the coconut, Cajun seasoning, honey and lime zest in a bowl that will be big enough to hold the prawns once done. Put to the side.
Thinly slice the celery and scallions and dice the red bell pepper.
Divide all the greens, aside from the basil, between the plates. Top with the celery, scallions and bell pepper. Lightly sprinkle sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper over them.
Cube the avocado and place on top of the plated salad mix then drizzle the lime juice over.
Quickly sauté the prawns until they just turn pink, then remove with a slotted spoon to leave any juices behind, and toss in the reserved coconut mixture until covered.
Top the salad with the prawns. If there is any of the coconut mixture left behind, drizzle in a little olive oil, mix it up and put that on the salad too.
Top with the basil leaves and serve.