Crispy pork and crayfish salad, with thai style dressing and herbs

Shredded Pork and Crayfish Salad

Apparently we’ve just had Easter. I’m not convinced.

I remember Thursday evening, then a blur. Something about Easter eggs and cooking all day on Sunday, then there I was, sat back at my desk, blinking bewilderedly. Was that it?

A long weekend of overindulgence however needs to be counteracted with something altogether healthier. The edamame bean ying to the half-pounder with cheese yang I guess.

Well this is something of the middle ground. I’ve made thai ‘style’ salads on here before and I make no apologies as they are brilliant. I had some left over pork from the weekends roast and used it along with some nice salty crayfish to make a super-light thai style salad of spinach leaves, rocket, peashoots, coarsely copped herbs, some nice sweet piccolo tomatoes and finely slice shallots.

The pairing of seafood and pork was something I first came across in the Lisbon (the delicious pork and clams speciality) and it worked nicely here. I fried the otherwise very lean pork in a pinch of 5 spice, and a little salt until really crisp.

I made the dressing, and that was about it. 10 minutes. I used chilli oil here but it was a little hot so you may want to tone it down with some peanut oil.

Lastly, it was only after we had finished, I though it would have been great with chopped peanuts, but, I didn’t have any. Next time then…

  • Left over pork – about 120g/4oz, cut into thin batons
  • 1 pinch of 5 spice and a pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 200g crayfish tails
  • Mixed green salad leaves – I used spinach, rocket and peashoots. A couple of handfuls of each
  • 8 small ripe tomatoes
  • 3 shallots, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 handful coriander – finely chop the stalks but leave the leaves (rolls off the tongue ­čśë ) whole.
  • About 6 basil leaves.┬áSliced thinly.┬áThai basil is better here, but I couldn’t get it.
  • Dressing made from:┬á2 tbsp chilli oil, juice of half a lime, a dash of mirin (or a good pinch sugar/palm sugar), 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger – grated finely.

Simply fry the pork with the salt and 5 spice until really crispy, only adding the garlic towards the end so as not to burn it.

Crispy fried pork

Combine with the cray fish and set aside.

Plate up the larger salad leaves, shallots, chilli and tomatoes and layer on the pork/crayfish.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a shaker – by shaker I mean jam jar – and mix thoroughly. Taste it, adjust it if you see fit and spoon it over. Sprinkle with the herbs and that’s it – ┬ájob done.



Cod and Crayfish Filo Parcels


Cod and crayfish - preparing

The first snow of this winter started falling today and I must say it makes a welcome change from the rain. This is the UK though and ‘attractive’ weather will never do, turning quickly to ugly grey slush followed by sleet. Sleet; basically even colder rain. Wonderful.

My first thoughts for dinner then would be of something hearty – a beef stew or sausage casserole maybe? Well no, as pescatarian January rumbles on it’s still off limits. Now, I love fish, and until now have been managing perfectly nicely. I probably order fish in restaurants as often as meat (perhaps more so actually) so this is no chore for me, but I did fancy something a little ‘richer’ tonight. So, a compromise, fish pie?

The idea for this came from Salmon en Croute, but I’m trying to avoid heavy pastries at the moment and so thought about using filo. I swung by a local fish deli on the way home, having left the office a bit early today and wouldn’t you know it – closed on Mondays. So off to the supermarket it was….

I used cod loin here, as I needed a thick fillet of fish for this. I’m not a huge fan of cod and there are sustainability issues around it, but there was not much in the way of alternatives and I couldn’t possibly post another salmon recipe! I also came across some crayfish tails – salty and sweet, to help the rather bland flavour of the cod. I served it up with a simple vegetable mash (sweet potatoes, swede and carrot), flavoured with a little light single cream and mustard.

The results were good but I may try frying the fillets first for more flavour and to compensate, cook the the parcels on a very high heat for a much shorted duration just to crisp up the filo. Experimentation and all that….

Cod and crayfish

So, cod and crayfish filo parcels:


  • 2 x 200g thick white fish fillets (I used cod)
  • 2 x tsp butter
  • 200g crayfish
  • 2 large cabbage leaves – halved – removing the stems in the middle
  • 6 filo pastry sheets
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper

For the mash

  • About a third of a swede, peeled
  • One medium sized carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • about 3 tbsp light single cream
  • 1 tsp coarse mustard.
  • Salt and pepper

Put the oven on to 180┬║C/Gas 4 and boil the kettle.

Pour the boiler water into the pan and blanch the cabbage leaves for a couple of minutes. Set a side in a bowl of ice water for later and keep the water on a low heat for the mashed vegetables.

The filo parcels will take longest so make them first:

Place three sheets on a board, with the thinnest sides towards you. About a third of the way into the sheets, place the cabbage leaves (pat them dry first). Place the fish fillet on this with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Finally top with half the crayfish tails and 1 tsp of butter. Fold the sides of the pastry in and it roll up from the end nearest you using some beaten egg to seal it.

Repeat with the other fillet and place in the oven on a baking tray for about 30 minutes.

Whilst cooking make the mash:

Bring the reserved water in the pan back to the boil and add the vegetables. Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until just done (stick a knife in to them, they should slowly slide off). Drain and roughly mash. We’re going for rustic here so keep some lumps. Stir in the cream, mustard and the salt and pepper to taste.

Put the lid on to keep warm.

I used a thermometer to check the fish was cooked and it was fine after 30 minutes.

Serve it with a nice pile of the mash.

Cod and crayfish parcels