Insouciant Shrimp Summer Salad with Avocado
1 pound large or colossal size shrimp, shelled and deveined or pre-cooked
2 firm-ripe avocados, cut into small squares
2 cups chopped tomatoes, drained
1 white onion, very finely chopped, or 4 sliced shallots, very finely chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil
Juice of 2 limes, plus zest 1 lime, before juicing
Pinch Kosher Salt
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, juiced
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and dried (you could cook your own, if you want to, I didn’t)
1/2 box frozen corn kernals (you could boil fresh corn and scrape the kernels off the cob, but I didn’t)
Tortilla chips, to serve (optional)
Cut off tails and cut (cooked) shrimp into half and put in salad bowl. Scoop avocados into bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, white onion or shallots, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the lime juice and zest, and all seasoning. Add salt to taste, then cilantro. Toss and serve with tortilla chips, Italian bread or hearty 7-grain bread or rolls.
Working 5 1/2 days a week, I took the easy way out with this recipe. But, it’s so good you’d think it took longer than it really did. I bought the shrimp from FreshDirect, precooked. Of all the stores, FreshDirect seems to have the most fresh fish and seafood. (Our local fish store, which I swore by, went out of business due to a rent increase.) I also opted to use black beans from the can and frozen corn kernels instead of husking and boiling ears of corn. Even using the one onion, instead of slicing 4 shallots, saved time. (however, I do love the slightly less bold but delicious favor of shallots). You could also do the following with shrimp, if you have the time (which I didn’t do).
Make shrimp stock: If you have more time, you can first make a shrimp stock with about 3 cups water, 1 cup beer or wine, the reserved shrimp shells, additional lime juice or the peels from the lime juice you’ll use in the salad and some peppercorns or red pepper flakes. Boil these together for 20 minutes, then strain the mixture. Cook the shrimp in this stock instead.
Cooking shrimp as usual: Or, to cook the shrimp the usual way: Bring salted water to a boil and turn off heat. Add shrimp, cover pot and let stand until firm and pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Check shrimp at 3 minutes or 5 minutes to be sure they stay light and crunchy. If you leave them too long they will get rubbery, which ruins the whole experience of eating shrimp. Drain shrimp, pat dry with paper towel and either add to salad and serve right away or chill until you’re ready for them.
This is a delicious meal in itself providing good protein which is also very low in calories (each shrimp is about 7 calories each), black beans also have excellent protein. You have red (lycopene), green (magnesium and vitamin B) and yellow veggies (beta-carotine or provitamin A), plus healthy extra virgin olive oil and lime juice. The sweetness of red seedless grapes offsets some of the kick of the antioxidant spices, plus red grapes have anti-aging, resveratol.
We had this simple summer meal with chilled glasses of Pinot Grigio. For dessert we love fresh peaches topped with vanilla activia yogurt.
BTW, if you’re planning to be in Manhattan, and you like cutting edge modern dance, try to get tickets to see our favorite dance company, PILOBOLUS (headquartered in Connecticut). They are appearing now at the Joyce Theater, which is the main contemporary dance theater in New York. PILOBOLUS is an outstanding, highly creative group using metaphors from philosophy, science, religion, mathematics (computer science), literature, art, theater and music, of course. You may have a transcendental experience, as I did, or you may find your mind drifting toward answers to questions, lurking in your own unconscious depths.
No matter what you do this weekend, relax, stretch out and have a good one!
From Our Table to Yours!
Bon Appetit !