Fresh, light and healthy. That's my vision for 2014, in terms of both the food I prepare and how I'd like to feel from head to toe. I'd like to spend more time at the beach, too, basking in the goodness of the sun, surf and sand. Sounds like a well-considered plan, no? Well, let me tell you, things are well underway.
Since watching the Richard Curtis movie About Time at the cinema, I've been yearning for a long seaside holiday. Visions of that family picnicking on the grassy cliff top and walking on the sand brought back so many memories of weekends spent with my parents at Malua Bay, where they lived—and a decade of summers when I took my own children to Easts Beach in Kiama, for week-long holidays.
To me, there's an exquisite deliciousness about arriving at a seaside destination. That faint hint of salt and seaweed that hits your nostrils, the cool ocean breeze blowing on your face, the sand that smooths away a year's worth of tension. And then the anticipation of kicking off your regular gear and donning sandals or flip flops, lightweight clothes, sunnies and a hat—knowing that this will be your 'uniform' for the next week or more. Yes, yes, yes!!!
When I think about it, this salad epitomises 'fresh, light and healthy' and things that remind me of the sea. The prawns, of course, are among the sweetest of fruits from the sea. The dill is reminiscent of seaweed, in appearance at least. The asparagus is remarkably close to samphire. And the cucumber is as cool and delicate as a gentle sea breeze.
The dill... reminiscent of seaweed
The asparagus... remarkably close to samphire
The prawns... among the sweetest of fruits from the sea
SALAD OF PRAWNS, ASPARAGUS, CUCUMBER & DILL
8 large green prawns
1 bunch baby asparagus
1 large Lebanese cucumber
dill sprigs, to garnish
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon Honeycup or grainy mustard
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped dill sprigs
First, cook the prawns in boiling lightly salted water for 3-4 minutes, until they change colour and float to the top. The shell and the prawn will have separated slightly. (Reserve the stock, you can use it for broth). Place the prawns into a bowl of iced water to cool them down, then peel and devein them.
While the prawns are cooking, steam the asparagus for 1-2 minutes, then drain and plunge into some iced water (or refresh under cold water) to stop the cooking process. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, slice long strips from the unpeeled cucumber.
To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a small jug and whisk until combined. Assemble the asparagus, cucumber strips and prawns in layers on serving plates. Sprinkle the dressing over the salad and garnish with sprigs of dill before serving. This quantity serves 2.
Note: This is my take on a recipe by Anneka Manning in her beautiful book more good food, which I had the pleasure of reviewing back in 2000.
Fresh, light and healthy... yes, yes yes!!!
Tell me dear readers, what's your vision for 2014? Have you seen the movie About Time? And are you as fond of the seaside as I am?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.