Seafood and Asparagus Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

Asparagus stands up quite well with sharp flavors like ginger and chile peppers. They actually accentuate this vegetable’s flavor. This recipe makes for an eye-catching appetizer or elegant light lunch. 

Ingredients:

US MeasuresMetricICYMI

Salad

  • 1 lb firm-fleshed fish fillets like mahi-mahi, sea bass, about 1 1/2 inch thick
  • 12 large shrimps, peeled, deveined
  • 1 lb green asparagus
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 4 Tbsp grape seed oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (coriander leaves) or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil or canola oil

Salad

  • 450 g firm-fleshed fish fillets like mahi-mahi, sea bass, about 4 cm thick
  • 12 large shrimps, peeled, deveined
  • 450 g green asparagus
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 4 Tbsp grape seed oil or canola oil
  • 65 g roasted peanuts coarsely ground
  • 15 g scallions, finely sliced
  • 7 g cilantro (coriander leaves) or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 60 ml grape seed oil or canola oil

Chile, chili or chilli?

Chile with an “e” at the end is the correct spelling of the spicy red or green pepper in Spanish speaking countries and parts of the US. The plural is “chiles”. However in most parts of the US the term “chili” like in “Chili con Carne” is used for the peppers and the pepper powder. That’s confusing!

“Chile Powder” is the condiment containing only chiles, whereas “Chili Powder” is a spice mix. McCormick’s chili powder contains “chili peppers (the incorrect spelling), spices (no further details), salt, and silicon dioxide”. What I normally use are fresh or dried chiles, they give the best aroma. I might use chile powder once in a while, like the “Ancho Chile Pepper” powder from McCormick for Mexican or Tex-Mex seasonings. The ancho chile powder contains only dried ancho chile peppers and, like most condiment powders, silicon dioxide. This is an anticaking agent deemed harmless by the FDA, albeit the EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) recently raised concerns due to the use of nanoparticles.

The third version, “chilli,” is the spelling used in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and some other countries”.

In many countries the term “Red Pepper Flakes” is used for dried, crushed chile.

Preparation:

Asparagus:

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt. Cut tough asparagus ends and discard. Slice each asparagus spears into 2 inches (5 cm) pieces. Place asparagus into boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until “al dente”. Take care not to overcook. Drain asparagus and refresh them under cold water to arrest cooking. Place it on paper towels to drain and cool.

Seafood:

In the meantime, pat fish fillets dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat grapeseed oil over high heat. Pan roast fillets for about 3-4 minutes on one side. Carefully flip fillets on the other side and continue cooking until golden on the edges. Remove fish from the saucepan and set aside to cool on a plate. Add shrimp to the same saucepan and sauté shrimp until they just turn pink about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Vinaigrette:

Put shallots in a small bowl. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard, cayenne, red chile peppers, salt and freshly ground pepper. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, sesame oil and grape seed oil. Mix it well and set aside. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Assembling the Salad:

Put asparagus and peppers in a serving bowl. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Scatter fish, shrimp, scallions and ground peanuts on top of it. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Garnish with cilantro (coriander leaves) and serve immediately.

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