For several weeks now I’ve been eyeing off the sometimes hard-to-get ingredients … green mangos and green pawpaws among them … at my usual fruit and veg bloke at the market.
At the weekend, I thought damn it; it’s time to make a green mango salad with prawns for dinner. I checked the pantry to make sure I had the ingredients … OK, I’d run out of fish sauce, sesame oil and fresh garlic … so I made a list … Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, rice noodles, bean shoots, limes, roasted peanuts, coriander and tiger prawns … oh, and a green mango or two. Done.
I wandered around the fruit shop gathering the goodies, but bugger me, no green mangos or pawpaws for that matter.
I got to the checkout and the bloke said: “Back again.” Yep. “Have you got any green mangos?” I asked, figuring that because there were plenty of ripe mangos of varying quality dotted around the shop, he’d say yeah, over there or something like that. “Season’s over,” he said. Bugger.
Off I went to the last-chance saloon … aka the Chinese grocery, where I’m a regular. “Got any green mangos?”
“Sorry, no more but we have green pawpaws.” Done. It was gonna be the sort of recipe that I’d make up as I went along anyway.
I got all I needed and made a beeline to Swords wine shop to see if the new chardonnay and pinot noir had made an appearance.
“Not yet, they’re still in the warehouse.”
I was keen to reacquaint myself with both after David, the manager, had gifted me a bottle of each to try.
The pinot, under Swords’ label The House of Rabbit, is a very drinkable wine (aren’t they all?) from up Sunbury way.
The label says cherries, plums and brambles on the nose. I get it with the cherries and plums, but does anyone know what brambles smell like? I’ll take their word for it. For me there was also a chocolate and oaky thing happening. There’s acidity enough (it’s 12.5 per cent alcohol) and soft tannins (I like that) to round it out. I seem to remember that it’ll be a sub-20 buck wine, something I’d happily pay again and again.
The chardy? A review for another day.
I had a chat with Dave about what would go well with my green pawpaw salad and riesling won the day.
Given the option of dry or something with a bit of fruity sweetness, I went for sweet … 2008 Rockface Riesling from Waipara Valley across the ditch in New Zealand.
I bought the prawns (I asked for eight because they were a decent size) and the market was done … OK, I bought a new wok on the way out.
Seasoning the wok (it’s a steel wok, not one of those new-fangled non-stick things) was easy. A thorough scrub with warm veg oil and a scourer, and then it was onto the stove to heat it until the oil started to smoke. (I rolled one at this stage, so I smoked too). Turn off the heat, let it cool and then fire it up again. Three times is enough to be ready to wok’n’roll (yeah, piss-weak joke, I know).
Hunger started to kick in after watching the rugby league season opener … go Storm, who made hard work of putting away the Canberra Raiders.
First up I made the dressing … fresh lime juice, fish sauce, vegetable oil, palm sugar, chilli (reckon I put a tad too much. No matter.), garlic and black pepper. It’s wise to taste as you build. My only change was a touch more lime juice. I also deep-fried some garlic chips.
To ready the pawpaw, I peeled it and then hacked into it with a cleaver, each cut as close to the last as I could manage. Then I used a vegetable peeler to cut away the shreds. Too easy.
While the prawns (I got 12) were cooking in the garlic chip oil with chilli, I assembled the salad.
Pawpaw, some rice noodles (soaked in boiling water), bean shoots, garlic chips, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, coriander, roughly crushed roasted peanuts and deep-fried shallots. Again, too easy.
When the prawns were ready, in they went followed by the dressing. A good toss (a lot of people reckon I’m a tosser anyway) and it was show time.
Bloody go show it was, too. I held back on the riesling while I was eating … the chilli was a bit heavy-handed and wasn’t doing the wine any favours.
When my tastebuds had settled, I had a decent crack at the riesling, a medium-bodied wine that had some citrus up front and for my liking, just a little too much in the way of sweetness, which wasn’t really such a bad thing after the chilli assault. It’s a pleasant enough drink, but not one that I’d rush to try again. Maybe it would work well with a cheese board or even with a dessert.
Given there’s a couple of pieces of eye fillet in the fridge, I may double up with a green pawpaw and rare beef salad in a couple of days. Sounds like a plan.
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.