Another day, another spicy salad. With the gorgeous weather continuing, at least intermittently, I’m still feeling the urge for bright summery food. I really like the Thai way of combining fruits into savoury dishes, and I have a particular love for citrus. The original idea for this dish comes from yam som-oh, a dish based on pomelo that I make in colder weather with nam prik pow and chicken. But the pomelos in the store this week were from China, wrapped up in plastic wrap and suspiciously brown and mushy looking under their plasticky pink skin. Hmm. I’m suspicious of anything from mainland China, what with all the poisoned pet food, baby food, toothpaste, etc, not to mention Fuschia Dunlop’s claim that many middle class Hong Kong residents buy their food imported from elsewhere in Asia. So, no dodgy Chinese pomelo for me. But the grapefruit were nice and heavy so I thought I’d take advantage of their juiciness to make a lighter main course salad with the bitter and sweet flavours of grapefruit, smoked mackerel and endive.

Thai smoked mackerel and grapefruit salad

  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented, leftover juice collected
  • 100g green beans
  • 1 endive, leaves removed whole
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 inch knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • the zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 6 small red birds’ eye chilies, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp caster sugar (depending on the bitterness of the grapefruit)
  • handful of mint leaves

Blanch the green beans for three minutes, or until not quite cooked. Cool and place in a large bowl. Break up the mackerel fillets into bite sized chunks and add to the bowl, along with the grapefruit segments, shallots, ginger and chilies. Grate the lime zest into the bowl and add the mint leaves.

To make the dressing, add the lime juice and fish sauce to 1 tbsp of grapefruit juice. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and taste. Depending on the grapefruit, this might be enough sugar or you may want to add a little more. You might need a bit more fish sauce too. Once you have the dressing balanced, add a little warm water and stir well, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved.

To serve, carefully toss the dressing into the salad and pile into endive leaves.

Serves 2.