Inspired by Good Fish by Becky Selengut
SERVES 4 AS AN APPETIZER
I used to teach a culinary program to new Vietnamese immigrants. Some of my students were painfully shy, so, to boost their confidence, I would have them teach the rest of the class a simple family recipe in English. I got a lovely education in Vietnamese regional cuisine just as surely as my students learned how to read and write recipes and work in a commercial kitchen.
This dish reflects my love of the herbs and fresh vegetables in Vietnamese cooking, where the protein is used more as a garnish than as the entire focus of the meal. Feel free to spice it up by adding some minced garlic and jalapeño.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (1 medium lime)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (1/2 small grapefruit)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon hot chile sauce, such as sriracha15
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus extra for salting the grapefruit
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound Vital Choice Oregon pink shrimp
1 small carrot, grated (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems and leaves
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into medium dice
1 tablespoon peanut or other high-heat vegetable oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 grapefruit (Texas Ruby Red, if available)
4 large butter lettuce leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped dry-roasted, salted peanuts, for garnish
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, stacked and cut into thin ribbons, for garnish
In a large bowl, mix the lime juice, grapefruit juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile sauce, salt, and sugar. Add the shrimp, carrots, cilantro, and avocado. Mix well and let the shrimp marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil. Add the shallots and cook until they are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Let them cool and then add them to the shrimp mixture.
Cut the peel off the grapefruit, making sure to remove any of the white bitter pith from the flesh. Slice the grapefruit horizontally into 1/2-inch rounds and remove any seeds. Then slice them into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and finally, cut them crosswise into medium cubes. Salt the cubes lightly and set aside.
Place the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Spoon the grapefruit and then the shrimp mixture evenly over the leaves, drizzling excess marinade all around the platter. Garnish with the peanuts.
About Becky Selengut
Becky Selengut is a private chef, author (Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook, Good Fish), columnist (Edible Seattle) and cooking teacher. She worked for 3 years at the internationally acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant under her mentor, Chef Jerry Traunfeld before setting out on her own to start Cornucopia, her private chef and education business.
She's at work on her third cookbook, "Shroom: Mind-bendingly good recipes for wild and cultivated mushrooms" (Andrews McMeel Fall 2014).
Learn more at cornucopiacuisine.com.