My sister is mystified by my (very American) embrace of Valentine’s Day, a holiday nobody pays attention to in Italy. In truth, my version mostly entails an exchange of cards and a collaborative meal, but this year, because she is here with her boyfriend, I thought we would use the occasion for a bit of fun.
After leaving them browsing inside vintage stores on La Brea, I ran home and made a Sacher torte. I set the table with the good china, silver and crystal. Happy tulips smiled down on the setting and handmade chocolates from my favorite chocolatier surprised the diners.
My sister’s boyfriend, Giovanni, is a very good cook, especially where seafood is concerned, so I drove him to Santa Monica Seafood to pick whatever took his fancy. We came home with a giant Alaskan crab and some tiger prawns. The crab was nobly sacrificed for some linguine with cherry tomatoes and the prawns put to shine in a simple appetizer of steamed potatoes and avocado that I tasted in Rome and wished to have again.
It is such a simple yet elegant recipe and can also be made with regular shrimp, if prawns are not available. It’s light enough to leave room for more courses and a nice alternative to the usual salad or soup.
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 ripe avocados, cut into cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 ts mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the potatoes. When they are nearly cooked, add the prawns or shrimp. Drain and keep a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. Set aside.
- Put all the ingredients in a serving bowl.
- In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Separately, dilute the mustard with a bit of the cooking water until creamy, then emulsify it in the oil/lemon dressing.
- Dress the salad and serve.