Karl’s Szechuan Pepper Shrimp and Arugula Salad

The mushroom hater is on an overnight at a friend’s house, so Jan asked for a mushroom dish. She really liked the last one I did, so I thought I would do a variation. Soup calls for salad and crackers.

Karl’s Szechuan Pepper Shrimp and Arugula Salad

Karl’s Szechuan Pepper Shrimp and Arugula Salad

Note: Jan bought me some Szechuan Salt & Pepper  Whole Spice in Sonoma awhile ago. On this site, this province will usually be spelled “Sichuan,” the Pinyin Romanization of the Chinese characters—the system used by the mainland Chinese, where we lived for several years. “Szechuan” is the Wade Giles Romanization—used by the English and Taiwanese.  The spelling you choose to use is, of course, a political marker.

I recently discovered arugula—I found it right there on the supermarket shelf! It is not a bland green and can stand up to strong flavored additions. Jan really liked my Szechuan salt and pepper shrimp, which would go well with the addition of some fresh green onion. I thought that shrimp and avocado were also a go together.


I created a light Asian vinaigrette on the spot to moisten the leaves.  As I was looking at the salad is seemed a bit colorless—green, green and pale pink. Looking around the kitchen, I saw some mandarins in the fruit bowl—in they went.

Note: This recipe is scaled for two salads.

Karl’s Szechuan Pepper Shrimp and Arugula Salad



2 tsp. peanut oil
1 ½ tsp. rice wine vinegar
½ tsp. Chinese dry mustard
pinch white pepper
pinch sugar
pinch kosher salt
pinch mandarin orange zest


10 medium shrimp
½ tsp. peanut oil
1 tsp. Szechuan salt and pepper

3 cups arugula, loose packed
3 green onions, sliced on a long bias
2 Mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented

½ avacado
½ tsp. toasted sesame seeds


1. Put all of the dressing ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake to blend.

Tip: Shake it again every few minutes and let it meld for 10-15 minutes.

2. Peel and de-vein the shrimp.

Tip: The frugal may freeze the shells for a seafood stock later.

3. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and place them in a tight pattern on a clean dry paper towel.

Tip: Lay the shrimp as close together as you can so that when you sprinkle on the Szechuan pepper none is wasted between the shrimp.

4. Brush the tops of the shrimp with half of the peanut oil and sprinkle on half of the pepper and salt.

5. Heat a small skillet on high and carefully tip the shrimp into the pan.

Tip: I pick up the paper towel with the shrimp and hold the hot pan over them. A quick flip lands them in the pan still in their tight pattern.

Searing the shrimp in a tight pattern

Searing the shrimp in a tight pattern

6. Brush the tops of the shrimp with other half of the peanut oil and sprinkle on the rest of the pepper and salt.

7. Sear the shrimp for 1½ -2 minutes.

8. Flip the shrimp over and sear for another minute.

9. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and let them cool slightly.

10. Put the arugula, green onions, and mandarin segments in a bowl and pour the dressing over the greens.

11. Toss to coat and then transfer the salad to individual bowls.

12. Fish out a few of the mandarin segments for garnish.

13. Cut the avocado into slices and arrange them around the edge of the salad.

14. Arrange 5 shrimp over each salad and garnish with the reserved mandarin segments.

15. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over each salad and serve.

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Filed under California Fusion, Salads, Seafood, Shrimp, Side Dishes, Vegetables

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