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Tea-Smoked Shrimp Salad with Mango

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Serves 4

Smoking food in a wok over a bed of tea leaves, rice, and sugar is a classic Chinese technique, but the flavors of this salad are decidedly western and very refreshing.

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. peanut oil; more for the rack
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and patted dry
  • 2-1/2 tsp. minced garlic (from 3 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup loose black tea leaves, preferably Lapsang Souchong
  • 2 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large head Boston lettuce, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe yellow mango (preferably Ataulfo or Champagne), peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. plain rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Tip:
Don’t use tea from a tea bag here; bagged tea tends to be finer and more powdery than loose tea and can lead to burning, not smoking.
Tip:

• Be sure to thoroughly clean the wok before setting it up for smoking so there are no stuck-on bits of food that could burn.
• If you smoke your food for too long, it can develop a bitter flavor.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottom wok (preferably seasoned carbon steel) over medium-high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Add the peanut oil, swirl to coat, and then add the shrimp, spreading them evenly in a single layer on the bottom and sides of the wok. Let the shrimp cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, then flip and cook until they’re just pink, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle the salt mixture and 2 tsp. of the garlic over the shrimp and stir-fry until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Clean the wok and let it cool.

Line the inside of the cleaned wok with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Be sure the foil sits flat against the bottom of the wok; otherwise, the tea-rice mixture will not smoke. Sprinkle first the rice, then the tea, and then the sugar evenly over the bottom of the wok. Line the inside of the wok’s lid with enough heavy-duty aluminum foil to leave a 1-inch overhang; fold the overhang up over the edge of the lid.

Put a lightly oiled 10-inch round metal rack in the center of the wok over the tea-rice mixture. Arrange the shrimp on the rack in a single layer.

Open the windows and turn the exhaust fan on high. Heat the wok over high heat, waiting until the tea mixture emits a few faint wisps of smoke, 1 to 4 minutes. Cover the wok tightly, crimp the foil overhangs together to seal in the smoke, lower the heat to medium low, and smoke for 2-1/2 minutes. If it smells like the tea is burning, lower the heat to low or remove the wok from the burner.

Uncover the wok and transfer the shrimp to a plate. The smoking may impart a slight hint of color to the shrimp.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and mango. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, cilantro, mustard, the remaining 1/2 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil.

Toss the salad with just enough dressing to coat. Top the salad with the shrimp and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340; Fat (g): fat g 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 25; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 500; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 170; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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