Roasted Shrimp Salad

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Summer cooking is all about keeping cool, and you can do just that with this herbaceous shrimp salad that can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. Feel free to add you own special twist with different herbs and citrus flavors.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large seedless cucumber
2 pounds of 16-20 count raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 firm avocado
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 ° F.

Chop the cucumber into 3/4 inch quarter chunks. Place the chunks in a colander and toss them with a pinch of salt or two. Place the colander over a bowl and allow the cumbers to stand for 20 minutes. After salting, remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with clean paper towels, add to a salad bowl and set aside.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the shrimp onto the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss the shrimp in the oil and spread them out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the shrimp in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until pink. Cool the shrimp on the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, chop the avocado in 3/4 inch chunks. Add the avocado, minced garlic, chopped mint leaves, cilantro and chives into the salad bowl with the cucumber chunks. Pour the lime juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil over the salad and toss well to coat. Taste, and adjust with alt and pepper as needed.

Cover and place in the refrigerator and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
Cucumbers, with their delicate flavor and translucent flesh by nature are very watery. For the most part, it you are planning to combine them with any other ingredients, use the best variety of seedless cucumbers available to you.

Then, you must salt them to draw out as much liquid as possible. If you skip this step, a puddle of near-flavorless liquid will form quickly at the bottom of your salad bowl, your dip or soup will separate like curdled mayonnaise.

But if you can only find the kind with seeds, make sure, you must eviscerate them, cut them open length wise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Why, you may ask? Well, cucumber seeds, tend to springy, and evasive, will ruin the texture of any salad, soup, or dip.

To salt cucumbers, begin by lining a colander with paper towels, add the cut up cucumbers to the colander and light salt them. Allow them to stand for 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from the colander and pat dry with paper towels and you are good to go to use them as you please in your recipes.

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Smashed Cucumber Salad

Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times


Cucumber Noodle Salad with Mint

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This is a great salad and just perfect for to serve as a light lunch or dinner during summer.

So often, we find ourselves just putting cucumbers in a smoothie or making refreshing cocktails, because they are made of more than 95% water and provide much needed hydration. They are also very low in calories which means you can eat as many cucumbers as you would like to have and not worry about counting calories.Did you know that a half cup of sliced cucumbers has only 8 calories and provides more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K? Imagine that!

This recipe is very adaptable. You can easily double the ingredients to share with a friend.

Serves 1

Ingredients:
For the dressing:
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4-5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

For the noodles:
1/2 large cucumber
handful of tightly packed fresh mint
1 green scallion (only the green part), finely sliced
1/2  teaspoon black  caraway seeds
1/2  teaspoon white sesame seeds

Directions:
To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the salad, remove smaller leaves from the stem. Tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces.

Make the noodles by using a spiralizer or  a veggie peeler. Add the noodles, mint and scallion to a bowl and pour the dressing on top.Gently toss the noodles to cover them in the dressing.

Top with caraway and sesame seeds and serve fresh.