IT ALL started with the honey calamansi vinaigrette that best friend Spider-man tasted on a trip North. When he came back to work the following Monday, he couldn’t stop gushing about that salad that he had. “eNTeNG, have you ever had honey calamansi vinaigrette on your salad? Sarap!” Honestly, I’ve never had. But of course I was all ears to all he was saying because the talk was about food.
Black tiger prawns to be pan-grilled for Spider-man's salad!
And since it is still his birth month, I promised to make him a salad dressed with that same honey calamansi dressing he so loved at that first taste. And I’m keeping that promise – almost, but not quite. You see, simple as the dressing may sound – all you need are just freshly squeezed calamansi juice, extra virgin olive oil, pure honey, salt and pepper – I was still opting to just use the Dizon Farms version available at all leading supermarkets. Unfortunately, I haven’t chanced upon one on any of the shelves I had ravaged these past days. It’s quite ironic that about a month ago, I had held a bottle of it in my own hands and transfixed it with a long, emotionless stare; while inside my head, a debate was ensuing, especially since I wasn’t particularly keen on the merits of calamansi in a fancy sounding vinaigrette – in a commercially bottled one at that!
But quite surprisingly, I didn’t even opt to whisk my own honey calamansi from scratch! I opted for the next best thing – Dizon Farms’ Oriental Dressing. Convenience. Convenience. Besides, putting all the components of the salad will take care of the labor of love part.
I love to “name” my salads so loftily – fanciful even – and so lengthily! For this one, I’m calling it Spider-man’s Salad of Mixed Delicate Greens, topped with Pan-Grilled Black Tiger Prawns in an Oriental Dressing!
Dizon Farms' Lollo Rosa (from the Asian Salad Kit) and Dole's Hearts of Romaine go to this salad.
For the mixed delicate greens, I’m using Lollo Rosa – both the green and purplish leaves – and Hearts of Romaine. Those were the only ones available last night. Usually, I’d always put arugula and iceberg lettuce. I prefer salad greens from Dizon Farms, Basic Necessity’s SaladTime, Dole and Sunsweet (whenever I long for the buttery taste of their hydroponically grown hearts of romaine). Apart from the highest quality these brands are known for, I love it that their greens are already completely washed – some with mineral water, and some three times even!
For the black tiger prawns, I always make sure to start with the freshest catch. I buy them only when I’m going to use them. Never frozen! I clean them well, remove the heads and carefully devein each. I season one side with just a kiss of salt and pepper, and put that side down on a well-heated heavy bottom skillet. That’s when I season the other side. Once the prawns start to curl up, I flip them. One more minute and they’re done. I leave them on the pan to “carry-over” cook, and to cool before packing. Whenever I have them on hand, I squeeze orange juice on the prawns as they sizzle away on the pan. I hit both sides with a generous douse of the orange juice. By the way, as much as possible, I only wipe my pan with pure canola oil ever so lightly. Just a very thin film to cover the bottom.
A few minutes and the prawns are done!
As I had to bring this salad to work today for Spider-man, I packed the greens separate from the prawns and the dressing. To keep the greens cold on the ride to work, I pack its container with the ice replacement gel packs that I would save from my Royce’ Nama Chocolates! I first put the (recycled) ice packs in a Ziploc bag before I put it on top of the container of the greens.
I guess Spider-man would be a happy camper with this salad. He’s actually saving this for his dinner tonight. And no matter where he decides to enjoy this filling salad, he need not worry about cutlery. I threw in an Oneida® Silversmiths fork in the bag.
Another shot of the salad greens before they're packed!