I think of myself as a component kind of cook. Just as I prefer a wardrobe full of separates that I can mix and match as fancy strikes, I also like to mix and match culinary components. What I learn from one dish always has ramifications to another dish later.
Take this new salad for instance. I am in the lingering thrall of the Lemon & Thyme Marinated Artichokes posted last week. They were so good that I can’t get them out of my mind. We had barely finished the first batch of artichokes, and I had another batch marinating in the fig.
But what to do with them? An arugula and prawn salad came to mind almost immediately. Then an odd idea occurred. How about including strawberries?
After all, foods that grow within the same region and in the same season usually make wonderful pairings. Plus, tomatoes and artichokes are great flavor partners, and oddly enough, molecular scientists now say that strawberries and tomatoes are so similar molecularly that they can be used almost interchangeably.
The salad looked and smelled wonderful, but I took the first bite with some trepidation. Strawberries with artichokes? No need to worry. The combination is divine, with the strawberries adding just the right measure of bright pop to every other bite of the salad. It’s like having the palate cleanser in the same dish with the richer ingredients.
I have just enough of everything left to make this salad again tomorrow. I hope MauiJim can wait that long.
Lemon & Thyme Marinated Artichoke, Tiger Prawn & Strawberry Salad
Even though the artichokes take a bit of time to prepare, the result here is well worth it. Large globe artichokes are specified, but baby artichokes will work beautifully as well. You will notice that the prawns are sauteed in the shell. This method intensifies the flavor of the prawns, and thus I heartily recommend it. If you have guests to impress, this salad should do it.
1 pound tiger prawns (16 large prawns), shell cut lengthwise down the back and vein removed (leave the shell on however)
1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
5-6 ounces baby arugula
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
¾ cup Lemon & Thyme Vinaigrette (from the artichokes)
freshly ground sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- At least several hours ahead, and preferably a day prior, prepare the artichokes (retaining only the edible parts) and steam them until fully tender, about 20 minutes. Marinate in the hot vinaigrette until cool, and then cover and frig until needed.
- When you are ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette from the artichokes into a measuring cup. You should have about ¾ cup. Cut each of the artichoke quarters in half lengthwise. Reserve.
- Toss the prepared prawns with about ¼ cup of the vinaigrette and then arrange the prawns with the vinaigrette in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute for about 1 minute on each side, just until the shells turn bright red. Remove from the heat and put onto a plate to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the shells from the prawns, leaving the tails on for drama.
- In a large bowl, toss the arugula, strawberries, and onion in about ¼ cup of the vinaigrette and divide between four large salad plates.
- Divide the prawns and artichokes between the four salads.
- Finish each salad with several grinds of salt and pepper, and serve. Pass the remaining vinaigrette separately.
Plus two more prawn salads you might like:
Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.