This Vietnamese-inspired shrimp salad is perfect if you’re looking for something different to bring to a summer potluck or a light dish for warm-weather entertaining at home. This recipe calls for Asian hot chile sauce. The different styles and brands of sauce have varying heat levels, so taste as you go. Recipe adapted from The Summer Shack Cookbook by Jasper White (W.W. Norton, 2007).
- 12 ounces cold cooked and peeled Maine shrimp or other small shrimp (about 1 1/2 cups; see Tip)
- 1/2 small head Chinese or napa cabbage
- 20 sprigs fresh cilantro, divided
- 1 small head Boston lettuce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons Asian chile sauce, such as sambal oelek or Sriracha (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided
- 1. Pick over shrimp, discarding any pieces of shell. Cover and keep chilled until ready to toss the salad.
- 2. Slice cabbage into chiffonade (very thin strips), about 1 to 2 inches long, to get 5 to 6 cups. Slice 12 cilantro sprigs (stems and leaves) very thin; reserve remaining sprigs for garnish. Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Keep everything chilled until ready to toss the salad.
- 3. Mix vinegar, peanut oil, fish sauce, chile sauce, sugar and ginger in a small bowl. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate if making ahead; let cold dressing come to room temperature before tossing with the salad.
- 4. Just before serving, toss the reserved shrimp, cabbage, sliced cilantro, carrot and 6 tablespoons chopped peanuts with the dressing in a large bowl. Arrange the reserved lettuce leaves on a serving platter or in a large, shallow serving bowl. Mound the salad on the lettuce and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons peanuts and 8 cilantro sprigs.
- Tip: Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized, so to get the size you want, order by the count per pound. Both wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp can damage the surrounding ecosystems when not managed properly. Fortunately, it is possible to buy shrimp that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as the Marine Stewardship Council. If you can’t find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America—it’s more likely to be sustainably caught.
- Notes: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermentedfish. Find it in the Asian-food section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce (1,190 mg sodium per tablespoon) in our analyses.
- Sambal oelek, a spicy blend of chiles, brown sugar and salt, and Sriracha, a Thai chile sauce, can be found in the Asian section of many large supermarkets and at Asian markets
- To Make Ahead: Cover and refrigerate the shrimp, salad and dressing in separate containers for up to 1 day. Bring dressing to room temperature before tossing with shrimp and salad.