For our final installment of On the Line, chef Brent Palmer prepares his go-to entrée for first-timers at Mesa: Thai grilled shrimp. Served over a green papaya salad, it embodies the cuisine represented by his kitchen: simple, tasty, real. To catch up on previous days, you can click here and here.
Thai Grilled Shrimp
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9 medium-sized prawns, cleaned and deveined
1 medium-sized papaya
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 red jalapeños, julienned
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup salted peanuts, toasted
1/4 cup Thai basil
1/2 lime, squeezed
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, pickled
2 cups rice-wine vinegar
1/2 cup sambal chili paste
1/4 cup siracha chili paste
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 1/2 ounces fish sauce
3 cups olive oil
1. Purée cilantro, 3 garlic cloves and 2 cups olive oil.
2. Mix 1 cup of rice-wine vinegar, sambal, siracha, fish sauce, remaining garlic and oil. Whisk and adjust as necessary to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
3. Peel, de-seed and julienne the papaya on a mandolin or box grater.
4. Heat your grill. Skewer and season your shrimp. Toss the shrimp in the purée and marinate for at least an hour (overnight, if possible).
5. In a bowl, marinate papaya in remaining vinegar. Remove from vinegar and add to remaining salad ingredients. Incorporate dressing. Toss well and loosely plate.
6. Grill shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes each.
7. Place shrimp on plate resting against the salad, and then squeeze the lime over the plate.
8. Enjoy with an ice-cold draft Thai or rice beer to put out the heat.