Carrot Salad with Feta, Toasted Hazelnuts and Spicy Pan Roasted Shrimp
It turned out to be a very exciting week as my pal Val (grinning) handed me a clipped newspaper article with the headline “Largest asian market to open in south Florida”, and they grow their own vegetables! Could this be true? And within driving distance of us? This is extraordinary news, but not exactly around the corner. It takes a special kind of place to get us to drive out of our comfortable 2 mile radius, and it usually involves some sort of ethnic food. But, if we have to drive “out west” there’s no better way to go than with my extra special friend Val, in her extra large, extra cool 62′ Cadillac. So, as soon as we coordinated our schedules we headed to the market, chatting non-stop about all the possibilities (giant fish tanks, pleasantly unfamiliar smells, crazy looking fruits and vegetables that we don’t know how to prepare…but will buy anyway).
Just a single wrong turn and we finally made it to the market, full of anticipation. As we walked through the large double doors it was just as exciting as our imaginations lead us to believe. There they were, large fish tanks stacked 3 tall and 6 across with live shrimp, snapping crabs, fish of all shapes and sizes, jet black eels (((slithering))). We quickly moved past the cute little frogs and turtles lined in a row, staring up at us from the bottom tanks. Each step was more exciting than the prior. Giant clams, sea snails, jelly fish! Val’s fish of choice was a whole Pompano, and after much pondering, I chose these beautiful shrimp. Discovery after discovery, we made our way through the rest of the market, leaving with an array of baby pickled vegetables including tiny heads of garlic and lotus roots, granulated honey, julienned dried red chilies, fresh udon and a mixed bag of exotic, extra ripe fruit discovered on the bargain rack. During the ride home I felt inspired and satisfied – day dreaming about the little frogs and turtles, secretly planning for their future escape.