Grilled Pineapple Shrimp Salad

Dressing

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup water

3 stalks of lemongrass, sliced and pounded

1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split, the seeds scraped into the coconut milk along with the pod

1 TBS fish sauce

3 TBS coconut sugar


1/2 cup of the infused coconut milk

2 tsp lime juice

2 tsp coconut sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

 

To make the dressing, simmer the coconut milk and water with the lemongrass, vanilla, fish sauce and coconut sugar for about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let steep another 30 minutes or more.

 

Strain through a coarse sieve, allowing the vanilla seeds through but keeping out the lemongrass.  Mix 1/2 cup of the strained mixture with the lime juice, coconut sugar, and fish sauce.  Keep until ready to dress the salad.  (The remaining coconut milk infusion can be refrigerated--or frozen--for another time.)

 

Salad

1 pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices

20 shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cups arugula, washed and dried

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 to 3 TBS mint, julienned

1 red jalapeno or other pepper with some heat

1 cup of dried rice flakes or rice vermicelli, fried in 350º F oil until crisp and puffed

1 tsp fennel flower crystals ground with 1 tsp kosher salt, for dusting the fried rice flakes

1 tsp fennel flower crystals for sprinkling on the shrimp just before serving the salad


Grill the pineapple slices on a hot grill for about 3 minutes a side until cooked.  Remove and cut each slice into eight pieces, removing the fibrous central core.  Thread the shrimp onto skewers, season lightly with salt and quickly grill them.  Be careful that you don't overcook them.


To assemble the salad, place the arugula on a deep platter.  Top with the grilled pineapple pieces, followed by the fried rice flakes.  Top with the grilled shrimp sprinkled with the fennel flower crystals.  Scatter the sliced shallots, mint, and red chili pepper.  Pour the dressing over and serve.


Don't add the rice flakes until you are ready to serve the salad.  If you add them beforehand, they will become soft and unappetizing.
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