Maui Shrimp Salad Inspired By Roy’s Restaurant

Hawaiian cuisine is one of those specialty foods that can be overlooked in mainland America, but it is a nice treat when you find a restaurant that is so inspired by the produce and style of the state that they celebrate it with the best ingredients and a little flair.  You are going to love this shrimp salad.

Roy Yamaguchi is a man that made a big name for himself in the world of fusion cuisine after opening his first restaurant in Honolulu in 1988. His fusion was an amalgamation of Pacific Rim flavors that celebrated the region and his success led to a long line of restaurants being opened across America.

I had put off visiting Roy’s restaurant out of fear at the word ‘fusion‘ – had he made a mess of the cuisine I knew as a child? I was taken to Roy’s in Pasadena by friends I was visiting, a treat to remind me of home, and I was surprised by what I found.

The highlight was the shrimp salad.

It may have just been a basic salad to those that chose to order something that looked a little more “interesting”, but it was a sensory reminder of what I have left behind. As a result, I was inspired to recreate the dish at home – to the best of my abilities – and I want to share this recipe with you in order to show you what can be achieved.

Recreating Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Maui Shrimp Salad at home.

Here are the main ingredients that you will need to recreate this salad at home:

  1. feta, crumbled
  2. capers
  3. tomatoes
  4. lettuce
  5. shrimp
  6. shallots, or substitute  green onions/ sweet onion, if not available
  7. avocadoes
  8. honey, mustard, lime juice

These flavors are meant to remind someone of diners of tastes and smells of Maui and, with the right touch, they can come together to create a simple dish that is both delicious and beautiful.

There are two elements to the dish the salad and the dressing. The following is designed to serve four, so adapt the measurements as needed.

The dressing:

Take 2 teaspoons minced shallots, 1 teaspoon capers and a 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice and blend them together. Once smooth, add 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard to enhance the taste and consistency and, finally, use 1 tablespoon of honey for sweetness. It is important to make this first as it is used in the preparation of the salad.

The salad:

Start by overlapping 5 slices of tomato with a hole in the middle.  I like to put the tomatoes more on the outside ring of the plate so the red color is more noticeable, but the restaurant does not do it that way.

Next, take 1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese, 2 tablespoons of capers and 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion, cover them in the dressing and toss them, season veggies to taste.

Then you need to do the same to the shrimp and avocado and finally the lettuce. Use 12 large cooked shrimp – grilled and cut into three pieces – and a medium sized avocado – chopped into pieces about the same size as the shrimp. Mix the 2 together and a little dressing.

Place 1/4 of the lettuce in that hole in the tomato ring and add 1/4 of the feta and shrimp mixture on top. Repeat across the four plates and garnish with popcorn shoot sprouts (optional).

roy's maui shrimp salad photo

With the right care and the best ingredients, you can take this delicious  shrimp salad recipe and create a beautiful Hawaiian dish of your own at home.