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Shrimp, Fennel, Blood Orange, and Pea Shoot Salad

(recipe, Sophia Markoulakis)

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    1. 1 lb. (about 20 to 24) large shrimp in their shells
    2. 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
    3. 2 star anise
    4. ½ tsp. salt
    5. ½ fennel bulb, stems and green fronds removed
    6. 2 blood oranges (see Note)
    7. 8 cups pea shoots, longer stems trimmed and cleaned (see Note)
    1. 5 Tbsp. rice-wine vinegar
    2. 1 tsp. hoisin sauce
    3. 1 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle
    4. 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
    5. ¼ cup grapeseed oil


    1. Prep the shrimp: Thoroughly rinse the shrimp and place them in a bowl; set aside. Fill a medium-size pot with water halfway and add the onion, star anise, and salt. Place on high heat until the water comes to a boil; add the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the shrimp for about 7 to 10 minutes; remove the shrimp and reserve the broth for another use, if desired (see Note, below). When cool, peel the shrimp and chill until ready to use.
    2. Prep the remaining salad ingredients: While the shrimp are cooking, halve and thinly slice the fennel bulb; set aside. Peel and segment the oranges, doing so over a bowl to catch any juice. Place the segments in the bowl with the juice and set aside.
    3. Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, hoisin sauce, peppercorns, and ginger. Mix thoroughly, then add the oil in a steady stream until the dressing is completely emulsified.
    4. Assemble the salad: Pour the dressing over the pea shoots and toss well to coat. Divide the pea shoots evenly between four plates and top each plate with shrimp, fennel, and orange segments. Drizzle the remaining orange juice among the plates and serve.


    Culinate editor's notes: This is a good recipe for using a mandoline to slice the fennel bulb very thinly. If blood oranges aren't available, try the pink-hued Cara Cara navel oranges instead. And depending on how young (or not) your pea shoots are, you may wish to briefly sauté them in a pan before serving them in the salad. To turn this salad into a larger meal, use the shrimp-cooking broth to cook 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rice, then serve the salad over the rice.