Monday, August 6, 2012
Refreshing Crab and Prawn Salad Dinner
It was the hottest day of the year and neither of us felt like a hot meal. "I could make that crab salad again?"
"That was good!"
I trotted off to the grocery store. Raw tiger prawns were on sale too so I bought 10 of those for one salad and a small package of imitation crab meat. I like the taste of crab but not the shell or the price. I like the taste of imitation crab and the price and texture are acceptable so I don't mind using it at all. My total protein costs for all three salads was less than $4.
I initially said potato salad but on the way to the store I thought, couscous! So I bought some of that too. Somehow I managed to buy imitation crab and forget the avocado. Good thing we have a local grocer on the way home. Fern had picked up green peppers and cucumbers at the farmers market so I didn't need much.
I bought bulk couscous but I wasn't sure if it was the quick cook or long steam type. Popular opinion favored quick cook in western countries so it was probably that but I did a test. The instructions said use 1:3 couscous to water and boil till thick. Boiling till thick doesn't sound like a good recipe for anything but glue. I put 1/3 cup couscous in a pot with 1 cup water, brought it to a boil and set it aside for 5 minutes. It was soupy. I added 1/3 cup boiling chicken stock and another 1/3 cup couscous and waited another 5 minutes. It was perfect. So the instructions should say 1 part couscous to 2 parts boiling water or stock, let stand 5 minutes. I set the couscous aside to cool.
In winter I would make the crab and avocado salad with alfalfa sprouts but since we have a garden of fresh lettuce I decided to do a chiffonade of lettuce. To do that just roll up the lettuce leaves from the side and take 1/8 inch, 3 mm slices off the end which fall into beautiful ribbons. For color and crunch I used carrot thins and cucumber strips. Also some fresh green pepper for sweet crunch.
I first shelled (including tails), cleaned (take dark line out, it's prawn poop) and cooked the prawns in butter and fresh garlic then put them aside to cool. I juiced a lemon and started cutting the avocado. I sliced it in half lengthwise and took out the stone then sliced a grid into the flesh and scooped out the pieces with a spoon. As soon as I had the avocado out of it's skin I poured the lemon juice over it to prevent it turning black. I also chopped up some chives for all three dishes.
I broke the imitation crab up so there were no lumps, they don't improve the mouth feel. Added the lettuce chiffonade, some chives and half the carrot thins. Then I added some extra virgin olive oil and rice oil and some salt and mixed pepper. I use just over half rice oil because I find pure olive oil overwhelms all the other flavors. I tossed it all with the avocado.
The prawn salad contained chives, green pepper, cucumber, carrot, olive/rice oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The couscous I used olive/rice oil, parsley, chives, salt and the juice of one lime. It wasn't enough so I used half a lemon also and that did the trick. I stirred that together and plated it. I plated the crab salad over the couscous as I intended them to be eaten together and shrimp salad was on the side.
I poured the poured the lemon/lime juice and oil directly on the salad which prevented me from mixing it up and tasting it first. I think next time I'll make the dressing for each salad in a separate bowl so I can get it right before it goes on the food.
It was all fresh, light and bright tasting. I couldn't finish all my couscous and I left a little of each salad for the dogs. They licked the plates clean so I would say that's the final word, it was plate licking good.