Barbecued marron with Thai green mango salad
I like the mango in this salad to be just a little riper than the one favoured for a traditional Thai green mango salad, which is very tart and crunchy. The key to this dish is choosing a green mango with a little give and not the rock hard ones. When you cut inside they should be a pale yellow and taste sweet as well as a little tart. Alternatively you could use a ripe mango that is quite firm and just under the ripe stage. Brigitte Hafner is the chef-owner of Gertrude Street Enoteca.
Photo: Melanie Dove
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- Nam jim dressing
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 coriander roots and stem
- Pinch of salt 3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
- 60g grated palm sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- Marron and salad
- 4 large live marron
- Murray River salt flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 green mangoes (from Asian grocers)
- 1 red chilli finely, sliced
- 4 mint leaves, finely sliced
- A handful of Thai basil leaves
- A handful of coriander leaves (use as much or little as you like here)
For the dressing: In a mortar and pestle crush the garlic and coriander root with salt until you have a paste. Add the chopped green chillies and crush until lightly broken up (if you crush the chillies very fine the dressing will be very hot). Add the palm sugar and crush until the sugar has dissolved, then add the fish sauce, lime juice and sliced shallots. Check the flavour; you should taste hot, salty, sour and sweet all at once. Adjust if necessary.
For the marron: Put live marron in freezer for 15 minutes (this will render them unconscious), then cut through the middle with a sharp knife. Pull out the intestinal tract. Sprinkle with Murray River salt flakes and extra-virgin olive oil. Put flesh down onto very hot, clean barbecue and cook for five minutes. Turn and cook until the flesh has turned opaque and pulls away from the shell.
For the salad: Peel the mangoes then slice thinly and stir through the dressing along with the red chilli and herbs. Pile a small handfuul onto the plate next to the barbeced marron. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately either in the shell or you can pull the meat out and serve tossed through the salad.
An alternative to marron — which is not widely available outside the restaurant trade — is mud crabs or lobster. You could also use yabbies or prawns.