California Roll Salad: Maine Shrimp, Avocado, Rice and Cucumber
Once we had established that what I call Maine Shrimp are called Matane Shrimp in Eastern Canada (named after the principle port of the fishery), Magic told me that a favorite way to prepare them in Canada is with mayonnaise and avocado.
Well, mayonnaise, avocado and pink sweet seafood immediately triggered in me a thought of the famous California Roll, the sushi preparation created to appeal to Americans who are squeamish about eating raw fish...and I knew it wouldn't be long before I had to try something along those lines.
Of course, traditionally the CA Roll is made with fake crab, but I think my substitution of real sweet pink shrimp for dyed and processed fish sticks is a big improvement.
So here it is: the California Roll Salad, featuring rice, fresh shrimp, mayonnaise, avocado, cucumber, wasabi and soy sauce -- the exact ingredients that an improved California Roll would have, with condiments, reimagined as a salad. This is the kind of fun that keeps me coming back to the kitchen every day!
California Roll Salad
1 cup short-grained rice, cooked and cooled
1 cup Northern cold-water shrimp, peeled (called Maine shrimp or Matane shrimp)
1 ripe avocado (I usually use the Hass variety: pear shaped, nubbly dark green skin, turning darker as it ripens)
2 T mayonnaise
1/2 tsp wasabi powder, or to taste
1 tsp soy sauce, or to taste
salt, hot sauce, to taste
1 scallion, minced
Cook the shrimp in rapidly boiling salted water for about 40 seconds, stirring. Drain into a colander and spray with cold water to cool. Set aside to drain.
Divide the avocado in half. Cut one half in chunks and add it to the rice. Reserve the other half.
Divide the cucumber in half. Chop one half and add it to the rice. Reserve the other half.
Add the mayonnaise, the wasabi powder, the soy sauce and most of the shrimp to the rice. Gently mix well. Correct seasoning with salt and hot sauce. (Don't skimp on the salt: the shrimp flavor really improves with salt!)
To serve, mound the salad on a bed of lettuce. Slice the reserved half avocado longitudially and lay the slices around the salad. Square off the remaining cucumber and cut into fans. Lay the cucumber fans around the salad. Top with the reserved shrimp and a scattering of the minced scallions.