In my opinion a really great salad is crunchy, refreshing, loaded with different textures and comes with a salty tangy dressing. Meat is optional as far as I am concerned. The best and most memorable salad I have ever had out was at California Pizza Kitchen. Words cannot describe how much I love salad, so who would have ever thought I would eat the salad of my dreams at CPK, not me! This salad was the Miso Shrimp Salad. Even though meat on a salad is not a must for me, the shrimp added a decadence that made my heart skip a beat.
Sadly, they don’t serve it anymore (at least not in the Atlanta area), not sure why. I think maybe they were ahead of their time with the Miso. They probably stopped serving this salad about 5 years ago. To the masses, 5 years ago Miso was pretty much unknown (and to some people it still is). The salad also included daikon, which was also a very unusual ingredient 5 years ago. So, I am sure it probably did not perform as well as other salads on the menu, so they scrapped it (my guess). Thankfully, these two ingredients have become much more popular today. If you are unfamiliar, miso paste is a Japanese seasoning product made from fermented soybeans. It’s salty, creamy, buttery and rich, and the main ingredient in Miso soup. It is used in braises, sauces, and marinades. It is a staple in our house. Daikon is a mild flavored winter radish. Where other radishes can be astringent, this radish is very mellow and refreshing.
Here we are, 5 years later and I still cannot get this incredible salad out of my head. Since I can’t order it, I decided to make it. With the help of Google, I found a recipe that is pretty close to the original, and now I am sharing it with you. I made some slight tweaks to it to scale it back. If you are a lover of good salads, this one is for the books. . If shrimp is not your thing leave it out and if you are really a seafood lover add some blue crab. A bit of prep work is required here due to all the veggies and the dressing. Once that is done it comes together in a snap.
- ¼ cup white miso
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tbsp mayo
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp cold water
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 head napa cabbage , sliced length wise then thinly sliced crosswise.
- ½ small head read cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots julienned or shredded
- 1 small daikion (about the size of a large potato) julienned, or shredded
- 1 English cucumber, deseeded and julienned
- 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 6 scallions green onions, cut on a bias white and light green parts only
- 2 cups fried wonton strips, optional but highly recommended
- In a blender or food processor combine the miso, vinegar, sugar, mayo, salt and pepper. Blend until combined. Add the water and oil and blend until completely smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add shrimp. Cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Remove from cooking liquid and pat dry. Once cool enough to handle, quarter each shrimp. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the napa and red cabbage, carrots, daikon, cucumber, edamame, cilantro, and scallions. Add only about 1/2 the dressing. Toss well to combine. This dressing is very thick and you have to be careful not to add too much. Taste the salad and add a little more at a time to suit your tastes. You will probably need at least ¾ of the dressing. I despise heavily dressed salad,s and I tend to dress my salad on the lighter side, so to each is own.
- Transfer to a platter or bowls. Top with wonton strips and serve immediately.