fat free opinions on a food centric life

Spicy Shrimp Salad

Spicy Shrimp Salad

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I’d love to say it’s salad weather here, but if you are fortunate to be a resident of San Diego, then you know that not only have we been experiencing the typical overcast weather we lovingly refer to as May Grey, but are definitely headed into a serious June Gloom.  Although I am one who doesn’t need the sun shining each day, the marine layer is extremely thick right now, and temperatures have been in the low 60s.  It’s more like sweater weather and is quite gloomy.  In fact today, it’s been drizzling all morning, and I can’t help but wonder about the outcome of  outdoor plans made by those who expect our normally perfect weather, and are now disappointed.

We are salad lovers, and that means salad is a year round treat regardless of the weather.  Recently, my husband said he needed to lose a few pounds, so that usually translates to salad for dinner with no carbs on the side.  That doesn’t mean I make more salad than I normally would.  Instead, it means I’m able to try new combinations of flavor, adding more ingredients, and warming it up a bit with something cooked.

I’ve heard others mention they don’t care for warm salads, and far be it from me to criticize someone’s taste for salad — with the exception of the “canned pea-Velveeta cubes- smothered in Miracle Whip” concoction which leaves me nearly speechless.

This shrimp and spinach salad has more than one kind of “heat.”  If you’re not one for cooking your salad ingredients, then consider what chili heat can do for your taste buds.  It’s satisfying and healthy.

Spicy Shrimp Salad

6 c. baby spinach
1-1/2  c. snap peas
3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil + 2 T
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1 red jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. turmeric
juice of 1/2 lemon
shrimp for two
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss the spinach, snap peas, and tomatoes.  Set aside.

Heat 2 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cooking until softened.  Add the jalapeno, ginger, and spices, stirring to mix well and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and heat.  Add the shrimp and sautee until the shrimp is opaque and pink.  Do not over cook.  Squeeze the lemon juice over and season with salt and pepper.

Divide spinach between two dinner plates and add the snap peas and tomatoes.  Pour the shrimp mixture over each plate and serve.

Spicy Shrimp

Spicy Shrimp Salad

Recipe Notes:

  • I rarely use fresh shrimp.  It’s not for any reason other than I always have frozen shrimp.  Whether it’s with tail, or completely peeled, it’s in my freezer.  It comes in handy for occasions such as this.  Usually I measure out the amount of shrimp I want to use and put it in the fridge to thaw over time.  But often, I haven’t planned and so find myself with frozen shrimp in a strainer so I can submerge it in a large pan of water.  Either way, it makes for a quick meal.
  • Yes, shrimp is in that sea food group that we often hear is more healthy than eating meat.  To me, it fits in the category of sometimes, but not always, just like meat.  Here’s another source of information on the subject.
  • If you’re one of those who doesn’t enjoy a warm salad, then saute the shrimp and allow it to cool to room temperature.  Or, parboil the shrimp ahead of time, chill it, and marinate it briefly in the dressing which doesn’t have to cook at all if you prefer it that way.  I haven’t tried it, but know that it would work.  It depends on how much heat you want from your spicy ingredients.  For me, cooking tones down the heat.
  • This would be a perfect salad to feature grilled anything if you need a reason to cook outside celebrate summer.  Trust me!
  • Speaking of spice — use any kind of chili you prefer.  I happened to have an overly ripe jalapeno, so that’s what went into this salad.  I love chilis, but have to say that this salad was extremely spicy!  I was surprised by the heat because often the longer a jalapeno sits, the more mellow it becomes.  Not in this case!  If you don’t enjoy chili heat, then leave it out.  Increase the amount of onion, and/or add some garlic.
  • If you’re not a spinach lover, then use a different green.  But choose something that has nutritional value if you can.  We love spinach!
  • The sweetness of the snap peas with this combination is very pleasant — especially if the chili is very hot.  Cucumber would also be a nice addition.  Definitely avocado.
  • Forget the salad — I’m wondering about the shrimp over rice.
  • After you enjoy this salad for dinner, listen carefully to catch your husband downstairs later sneaking about and pouring a bowl of cereal.  So much for his diet!
  • This salad was inspired by a recipe from the February 2009 issue of Food & Wine in an article featuring “hearty winter salads.”  Yes, this one’s hearty, indeed.

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