Prawn, persimmon and cucumber salad

Serves 6-8

Persimmons, or Sharon fruit or kaki fruits, as they are often called, are one and the same thing, but unfortunately they are often sold rock-hard, which means they are no use to man or beast. A little tip I learnt years ago from the vegetable and fruit specialist, Tony Booth, was to pop them in the freezer overnight and they magically come out as if they have ripened on the bush; there aren't any other fruits that I know of where this ripening process works.

Once ripened, on the bush or at home, they make a delicious addition to a salad or as a part of a fruit plate, or even as a breakfast addition to your muesli.

I recommend that you buy raw prawns in the shell and cook them so that you can get a second meal out of them in the form of a broth.

30-40 good-quality medium to large prawns, cooked and peeled
30-40g very fresh root ginger, scraped and cut into fine matchstick-like shreds
100-120g pea shoots
2 ripe persimmons or kaki fruit (see above)
A handful of coriander, washed
Half a cucumber, halved lengthways and seeds scooped out with a teaspoon
1tsp black sesame seeds

For the dressing

1 small red chilli, seeded and finely diced
1 stick of lemon grass, trimmed and chopped as finely as possible (keep the trimmings)
A small piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated (keep the trimmings)
1tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
½tbsp sugar
1tbsp rice vinegar

Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and leave to infuse for at least an hour. Cut the cucumber into 4cm lengths, then slice and shred it into matchstick-like pieces.

Halve the persimmon and remove the core and any leaves. Cut it into thin-ish wedges and place in a bowl with the cucumber, prawns, ginger and pea shoots. Mix with the dressing and season. Scatter over the coriander sprigs and black sesame seeds; arrange on a serving dish.

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