Shrimp Salad Primavera + Avocado-Grapefruit Vinaigrette

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I’m a fan of the way summer gets my creative side to get all fancy and try new stuff.  I think it must be the extra daylight, or the way – two years out of school – I still think of summer as the time of year to do or make whatever I like.  I guess I still feel the need to take advantage of the fact that no one is telling me to read more Edgar Allen Poe and conjugate Ancient Greek verbs.  

This usually results in my making an epic mess in the kitchen.

So, of course, having friends over for a spur-of-the-moment back porch dinner, under the hundreds of twinkling little LED lights that serve as our outdoor lighting, was the perfect way to share the product of this creative outburst.  And I thought maybe you’d like a peek at what’s been appearing at my table and get a few ideas for your memorial-day cookout?

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I’ll take your continued reading as a yes.

I started this kitchen expedition as many meals start: with a salad and a dressing.  I decided that since seafood is, in itself, a fantastic celebration of summer – as are, of course, avocados – these two should soon meet for lunch, and in the company of bright citrus.  I think this trio gets along very well. 

I decided upon a creamy dressing with an avocado and grapefruit base, which I happened to really love; and a simple citrus vinaigrette, for when we are more in the mood for big chunks of avocado in our salads, rather than blended into the dressing.  Now the recipes are yours for the taking – serve with either dressing or both on the side! 

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Shrimp Primavera Salad 

Makes 4 lunch or dinner salads, or 6-8 side salads

2 cups peeled + deveined medium to large raw shrimp (thawed if initially frozen)

Garlic powder, salt, freshly ground pepper, pinch cayenne

8 cups loosely packed mixed spring greens

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

About 2/3 cup snap peas

1 tsp. olive oil

Carrots

Green onions

Sliced almonds

Sliced avocado (optional, if using the avocado vinaigrette)

Chop the mixed greens – the way I do in my Chopped Spring Salad – as well as the carrots and green onions.  Place the greens in a large bowl, or divide among 4 dinner plates.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes, carrots, green onions, sliced almonds, and avocado (if using).

Heat a small pan with the 1 tsp. olive oil to medium and sauté the snap peas, flipping occasionally, about 5 minutes – the snap peas should soften a little but keep a little crunch.  Turn off stove and set the pan aside. 

Spray a medium pan with olive oil spray and place over medium heat.  When heated, add the shrimp to the pan (you will probably need to do this in batches) and sprinkle on seasonings.  Cook about 2 minutes per side, or until each side has turned pink and the shrimp has begun to curl up.  Set on a separate plate and sprinkle on additional seasonings, if needed.

Bee tee dubs… It’s easy to overcook (and dry out) shrimp, so be sure to pay attention to them while they’re cooking!

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Avocado-Grapefruit Vinaigrette

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

1 Ruby Red grapefruit, juiced

1 orange or lemon, juiced

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Pinch or two fresh cilantro

Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth.  That was easy pie.

 

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Tangelo Vinaigrette

1 tangelo, zested and juiced (about 4 T. juice)

½ lime, juiced (about 1 T. juice)

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

Salt, freshly ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a whisk!  Also easy pie!

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For more Memorial Day Weekend (+ summer)  recipes, continue to Homemade Salsa Fresca + Mom's Famous Potato Salad!