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Santa Barbara spot prawn martini with Thai spices

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Santa Barbara spot prawn martini with Thai spices

Peanut pesto dipping sauce

1

Place the curry paste, coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in a saucepan and heat over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes. Add the peanut butter and stir frequently. Add the boiling water and salt and simmer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more water if needed. May be made 1 day ahead. Makes 1 1/4 cups dipping sauce.

Thai salad with mint-garlic dressing

1

Place the curry paste, 1 teaspoon garlic, lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a blender and process 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside. Makes about two-thirds cup dressing.

2

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, the remaining one-fourth cup garlic, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, carrots, snow peas, jalapeno, cabbage and papaya. Toss with the dressing.

Assembly

1

Soak 16 (8-inch) bamboo skewers in water for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the peeled shrimp in a bowl and season with the curry powder, garlic, salt and pepper.

2

Grill or fry the shrimp. If frying, work in batches and cook in 1 tablespoon oil mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut pesto until pink and firm, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place on skewers after cooking. If grilling, thread 3 shrimp onto each skewer and grill until pink and firm, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

3

To serve, divide the dressed salad among 4 large martini glasses. Arrange 3 skewers in a triangle on top of each glass; place the fourth skewer upright in the center of the glass. Garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro sprigs and halved cherry tomatoes. Serve with lime wedges and the peanut pesto dipping sauce.

From Robert Gadsby of Noe Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Substitute regular shrimp if Santa Barbara spot prawns are unavailable. Look for the ingredients at Asian markets.

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