I love to find fresher, lighter preparations for some locally available vegetables, a refusal to believe that we just don’t have that many vegetable-based dishes in our repertoire in the Philippines. Recent data suggests that as a nation, we consume a phenomenal amount of meat, and that’s odd given the region’s seeming love affair with not only delicious, but economical and healthy vegetables and herbs. I am a carnivore, and couldn’t be otherwise, but I do love my vegetables and salads. This one experiment, a variation on this thai dish, is different enough, delicious enough and unique enough for me to cheekily add “a la Marketman” to it’s name.
Start with beautifully fresh sigarilyas or sigadilyas (winged beans) and cut them to small pieces and blanche in boiling water for a minute or less and shock in ice water to stop the cooking process and retain that vivid green color. Steam or blanche some shrimp until just cooked and peel and devein if necessary. Make a dressing by adding fish sauce, fresh lime juice (dayap), some sambal (not too much) a touch of homemade tamarind puree, a touch of brown sugar and mix until dissolved. Toss the vegetables and shrimp with the dressing, and add a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream just to mute and balance out the flavors. Taste and adjust as you desire. At the last minutes, I spied the preserved limes in the fridge so I added a scant 1/4 teaspoon full of finely minced lime rind (no pulp) to the dressing.
Chill for a few minutes in the fridge as the flavor meld together. Serve slightly cool. I added some purple basil for color but they were irrelevant. This salad was FANTASTIC. The little bits of powerful flavor from the preserved limes really provided an unusual punch. The whole thing just worked really nicely. Mrs. MM and I nearly finished this entire salad, and it was quite large. We left some on purpose so the crew could taste it and replicate it for future meals. It’s not really a filipino dish, but who cares, it tasted wonderful. Any reason to use more veggies and get us all eating them is a good one, as far as I am concerned.