When I was growing up, I was always given the task of preparing our green salads for dinner. I loved doing this, but it certainly brought out the perfectionist in me. I would dice the carrots into tiny perfectly-squared cubes, slice the cucumber into itsy-bitsy triangles, and chop the olives until they resembled a tapanade more than a salad ingredient.
I’d spend so much time making sure that everything was flawlessly bite-sized that my mom would inevitably break down and tell me that the salad looks good enough and could I please now set the table!?
Now that I’m grown, I don’t usually spend as much time making sure my salad vegetables are chopped to perfection. I have better things to do with my time, like finishing the rest of dinner or setting the table…
But recently, the boyfriend’s dad introduced me to a spicy Thai grilled shrimp salad where finely chopped vegetables are not only valued — they are indeed critical to the success of the dish! And, I have to admit that I was pretty happy to have an excuse to indulge in my perfectionist tendencies once again!
This Thai grilled shrimp salad is composed of all kinds of finely sliced herbs – lemongrass, cilantro, mint, shallots, red onions, and red Thai chilis. Everything but the cilantro and mint are meant to be sliced as finely as possible so you don’t wind up with a mouthful of one flavor in isolation. Instead, all of the herbs harmonize together with each other. When combined with hot-off-the-grill shrimp and a typical spicy, salty, sweet, and tangy Thai dressing, you wind up with yet another fantastic Thai salad.
So I’d encourage you to get out your knives and start perfecting your chopping skills. I can assure you that the payoff for the time spent finely slicing herbs is well worth it in the end!