“Asian” salad

I think I could live on Spanish salads, at least in the summer months. They’re always so colourful, and usually include protein and a bunch of vitamins, with different textures and a balance of sweet and sharp. Fruit often features, especially on the Costa Tropical, where avocados and mangos are a major crop.

I’ve already featured ensalada tropical; this salad is one we had in our favourite restaurant, which describes it as “ensalada asiatica”. It doesn’t seem that Asian to me; I guess it’s because it features Thai sweet chilli sauce. This is Steve’s first attempt at replicating it, and it was a little on the sweet side; next time about half of the mango will be replaced with slices of orange, so that’s how I’ve written the recipe. It was absolutely delicious though. I’m normally ambivalent about prawns but these were amazing; I am a convert now.

The basic recipe is below; adjust quantities and proportions according to taste, and you don’t need to include all the elements as long as there’s a good balance of crisp, soft, sweet and sharp. Needless to say everything should be perfectly ripe. If you can’t get miel de caña (a very local product), pomegranate molasses or maybe reduced balsamic vinegar would be good substitutes.

We eat this as a starter, but you could make it a light main course.

Fresh pineapple
Large prawns
Miel de caña (a kind of light molasses)
Sweet chilli sauce
Sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper

Shred the lettuce and thinly slice the tomatoes, mango, and avocado. Quarter the strawberries. Cut the ends off the orange(s) and use a sharp knife to remove the peel and pith. Do this over a bowl to catch the juice, which you can add to the salad. Then cut crossways into slices, halving the slices to make half-moons. Slice the cucumber lengthways into long slivers and roll them into spirals. Cut the pineapple into small dice. Arrange all these elements on a large platter and drizzle over a little miel de caña and sherry vinegar.

Steve bought raw fresh prawns and shelled them, then slit them to remove the digestive tracts. This creates the attractive curly shape when you cook them. Heat the butter in a frying pan till foaming and add finely chopped garlic. Fry the prawns briskly to caramelise them slightly and season well with salt and pepper. Tip them straight onto the top of the salad and drizzle everything with sweet chilli sauce. Eat right away!

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