Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shrimp and Spring Vegetable Salad

Article first published as Recipe: Shrimp and Spring Vegetable Salad with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette on Blogcritics.

I recently had a business lunch at Clyde’s, a favorite DC area restaurant.   Check them out here:   I had such an amazing shrimp salad that I couldn’t wait to go home and try to recreate it, lightened up of course.  You’ll love the sweetness of the shrimp, coupled with the bitterness of the radicchio and the tart lemon herb dressing.  This salad would make a wonderful luncheon, or be right in place at a springtime brunch table.  I’m serving it for dinner tonight with a gorgeous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and some toasted flatbread.  I think we’ll wrap up the meal with mango sorbet and some mixed fresh berries.

By the way, if you’re using this for family dinner and your kids are not big salad eaters, you can follow this plan.  Place 4 shrimp per kid on a plate, add a slice of bacon, a side of edamame, some cut up radishes (if your kids will eat them), string cheese, and mixed fruit to round out their meal.



1 lb. cooked shrimp
1 head romaine lettuce
1 head radicchio
5 radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup shelled edamame *
½ cup fresh English peas*
12 small cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Small handful of mint leaves, torn or chopped
Small handful of basil leaves, torn or chopped
4 pieces center cut bacon or turkey bacon, cooked until crisp
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese


3 Tbsp good quality EVOO
1 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp finely minced shallots
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tsp honey
Salt & pepper to Taste


First, make the dressing so the flavors will meld.   Pour the Sherry vinegar into a small bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, finely chopped shallots, honey, Dijon mustard, and chopped tarragon.  If you don’t have sherry vinegar, any wine-based vinegar will do (Champagne vinegar would be lovely too).  Then, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk, so the dressing emulsifies.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Now, move onto the salad.  I buy the shrimp pre-cooked, but you could steam or poach raw ones if you prefer and allow them to cool.  You can also buy the bacon pre-cooked, but I prefer to cook about 4 slices of center-cut bacon, which has less fat and calories than regular bacon, but with all the flavor.  Feel free to cook more and use the rest for bacon turkey BBQ cheeseburgers later in the week (that’s my plan!).    Again, you can use turkey bacon for an even more health-conscious approach to the dish, just be sure it’s cooked crisply.  Once cooled, crumble it up.

Rinse, spin and dry the romaine and radicchio well.  I use a whole head of both, chopped and then torn into small pieces.  Put the prepped greens into a salad bowl, add the torn herbs, and toss with most of the dressing, seasoning a bit with good sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Then, add the peas, shelled edamame, thinly sliced radishes, crumbled bacon, crumbled goat cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes.  Toss salad lightly and dish up into individual serving bowls or plates.  Top each serving with shrimp and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the shrimp.   

This whole meal will take less than 15 minutes and gives you at least 2 servings of vegetables, lean protein from the shrimp and edamame, and tons of fiber.  Enjoy!

One more thing: here’s a note about the edamame and peas.  You can often find cooked, shelled edamame (soybeans) in the produce section of higher end grocers.  If not, don’t sweat it.  You can use frozen, thawed shelled edamame.  It’s the same with the peas.  If fresh English peas are available, great, but if not, don’t hesitate to use frozen peas, or pea shoots if you can find them.  If asparagus is in season, throw that in too! Just blanch it for 2 minutes in salted, boiling water and then shock it in an ice bath.

Enjoy this quick, fabulous springtime meal tonight!    

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