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Recipe for Crab, papaya and watercress salad
11:21am Saturday 26th May 2012 in Too Many Cooks
LUCY POTTER has the perfect recipe to soak up the sudden arrival of the sun.
I entered this recipe for a Waitrose competition. Twelve winning dishes were to be chosen to feature in a foodie calendar for 2012 and to my amazement, my Crab, papaya and watercress salad was selected for May.
With the warm, sunny weather this week, my light, summery and healthy crab salad has been just the ticket. Inspired by the fresh and vibrant flavours of South-East Asia, the punchy chilli-lime dressing seeks to embody the crucial Thai notion of balance between hot, sweet, sour and salty. Nevertheless, since both ingredients and tastes vary, adjust the recipe to create your own perfect balance.
If you prefer, you can exchange the papaya for mango; but, if you haven’t tried it before, do give papaya a go – it has a subtle melony sweetness that works perfectly in this salad. Packed with digestion-aiding enzymes, papaya is also incredibly healthy plus the seeds taste peppery like watercress!
For a more substantial main course, add slices of creamy avocado to the salad and serve with rice or noodles laced with plenty of the hot and tangy dressing.
You can buy cooked and picked white meat in small pots from fishmongers (such as Cross of York), or from most major supermarkets.
Crab, papaya and watercress salad
Ingredients: (serves 2)
100- 150g white crab meat
For the dressing:
2 tsp Nam Pla fish sauce
1-2 tsp finely chopped red chilli
Zest and juice of 1-2 limes
1 tsp tamarind paste
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
For the salad:
40g (or a small handful) watercress, large coarse stalks removed
Small handful each of coriander and small mint leaves
Zest and juice of ½ lime
¼ cucumber, peeled
3 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ red onion, very thinly slices
½ ripe but quite firm papaya, peeled
2tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1dsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and adjust to taste. Transfer to a small jug and set aside.
Combine the watercress, herbs and lime zest in a bowl.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Slice into ½cm thick pieces, dry with kitchen paper and add to the salad bowl with the radishes.
Toss the sliced red onion with a good squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt. When it has turned pink, dry with kitchen paper and add to the salad.
Scoop out the seeds of the peeled papaya and discard all but a heaped teaspoon. Sprinkle these into the salad, saving a few for garnish. Slice the papaya into 1cm thick half-moons and toss with lime juice. Add to the salad and gently combine.
Flake in the crab, keeping some pieces quite chunky. Gently toss with most of the dressing, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds, reserved papaya seeds and pomegranates if using.
Transfer to a serving dish or pile up on individual plates and drizzle over the remaining dressing. Serve with little gem lettuce cups for scooping up the salad in crunchy mouthfuls!