This salad is awesome. It is refreshing but filling and features complex Thai flavors that balance sweet, sour, savory, and spicy. Even better are the many different components that keep each bite of salad varied and interesting. This salad is more commonly made with pomelo and crab, but I prefer shrimp because it provides a more substantial texture. I ate this salad as a main course, but a smaller portion would also make a nice appetizer. It’s a really delicious way to shake up routines and feel a bit adventurous.
To make 2 main course portions or 4 appetizer portions of salad, begin by frying shallots. Heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a pan. Thinly slice about 1/3 cup of shallots. Drop a small piece of shallot into the oil. When the shallot sizzles rapidly, add in the rest of the shallots. Let them cook, stirring them around occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy but not burned (about 5 minutes). When the shallots are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towels to drain.
While the shallots cook, preheat your oven to 350º F. Roughly chop about 1/2 cup of peanuts. Add the peanuts to a baking sheet along with 1/3 cup of coconut chips. Toast the nuts and chips in the oven until they are fragrant and golden brown.
Cut 2 grapefruits into suprêmes. To do so, use a sharp, flexible knife and cut the top and bottom off of the grapefruit. Place the grapefruit on a flat surface, and run the knife down the curve of the grapefruit to cut off the skin. Once the skin is off, use the knife to slice into the grapefruit on either side of each membrane to pop the segments, membrane free, out of the grapefruit. Cut the segments into large chunks and add them to a bowl. Squeeze the juice out of the membranes, and then discard the membranes. My grapefruit was extremely juicy, so I had to pour some of the juice off (aka, drink it) so that my salad wouldn’t be a soup.
Add an equal amount of cooked shrimp to the bowl, cut into chunks if they are large.
Now it’s time to dress the salad and add tons of flavor. To the grapefruit juice that is already in the bowl, add in about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a few dashes of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of minced shallot, and 1.5 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Mix everything together, and then taste the dressing/sauce. Adjust any components so that the sweet, savory, spicy, and sour flavors are equally present. If you have a ton of sauce, pour some off into a separate bowl.
Mix the shallots, peanuts, and coconut chips into the salad, and then portion it out. I love the bright grapefruit and hearty shrimp paired with all of the other crunchy add-ins. And the sauce is so good. I can’t wait for the heat of summer so I can eat this salad chilled on a rooftop somewhere.
- Grapefruit- 2
- Shrimp- about 1/2 pound
- Shallots- 2-3
- Vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
- Peanuts- 1/2 cup
- Coconut chips- 1/3 cup
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Brown sugar
- Pepper flakes
- Limes- 2-3