This savory (and umami rich!) recipe comes from Chef Hiro Sone, the 2003 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Chef in California and the first Japanese chef to have two restaurants with Michelin stars. Chef Sone has created this lively summer salad, which brings together each of the five basic tastes to give a flavor both complex and revitalizing. Umami-rich tomatoes, dried shrimp and peanuts are brought together with sweet watermelon and salty fish sauce as well as lime juice for refreshing sourness and a touch of cucumber rind for a bitter flavor. The sublime combination of the tomatoes and the fish sauce gives the dish an unsurpassable richness of flavor.
Ginger Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Lemongrass Vinaigrette
For the ginger shrimp
- 8 cups water
- 1 small onion about 6oz., thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced ginger about 1 ¼ oz.
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 5 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 12 shrimp in their shells about 1oz. each, veins removed
For the vinaigrette
- 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice about two limes
- 1 tsp. minced lemongrass
- 1 tsp. smashed and minced dry shrimp
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
- Pinch minced Thai chili
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
For the salad
- 1/2 small seedless watermelon rind removed and cut into 1 ½ " cubes
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes slice to ½ " thick
- 1 Tbsp. red onion thinly sliced
- 1 Japanese cucumber or ½ a hothouse cucumber seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 4 cilantro sprigs
- 4 basil sprigs
- 2 tsp. peanuts toasted and chopped
Sufficiently in advance so that the shrimp can cool, combine all the ginger shrimp ingredients except the shrimp themselves in a stainless sauce pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp and bring back to a boil over high heat and simmer 10 seconds, then drain.
Transfer the shrimp to a sheet pan and let them cool.
After the shrimp are completely cooled, carefully peel the shells off. Discard the shell. Cover the shrimp with plastic wrap until use.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients for the vinaigrette together. Set aside.
Mix the other ingredients for the salad together with the ginger shrimp. Gently pour on the vinaigrette and toss the salad.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Umamiinfo.com