Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick and easy shrimp

A recent Christmas gift from my mom included a signed copy of Catherine Walthers' Raising the Salad Bar. I have to admit it's not a cookbook I've used frequently, but this next recipe is one that will make me give the book much more than another glance. The writer hails from Martha's Vineyard, one of my favorite spots. The photos are by a famous Vineyard photographer, Alison Shaw. The book really is beautiful. It combines fresh ingredients from local farms, and this recipe is no exception. In the foreword to the recipe, Walthers explains that she uses fresh produce from Morning Glory Farms. Having vacationed on MV for many years, this place really does have the best corn, among other things.

As I usually do, I made some modifications. This mixture of corn and shrimp can be served warm or cold. It's great as a main course or serve it with a hot grilled steak for something special. Oh, and it takes just about no time to prepare...

Cajun Shrimp and Corn Salad with Lime-Chile Dressing
adapted from Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers

  • 1 1/4 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2-3 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne (more if you like it HOT!)
  • 3 cups of corn kernels
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro

For the dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ancho Chile powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk.

Combine the shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a bowl. I prefer Pensey's Cajun seasoning, but use any kind you have on hand. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne and cook until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the corn and allow to cook for a few minutes. (Fresh corn kernels would be best here, but I made this in the Spring so I used fresh frozen. I let is cook until the liquid cooked off but the corn wasn't mushy.

Stir in the red pepper and tomatoes and allow to warm though. Remove from heat, add the dressing and cilantro and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more lime juice if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a variation, consider basil or parsley in place of the cilantro. Fresh chopped red or green pepper could easily replace the roasted as well. Another thing I love about this recipe is its vibrant color. Yellow corn, red tomatoes, green herbs, and the pink shrimp make it very eye-catching. It'd be a great picnic dish or an easy side for company... It definitely raises the bar on salads. Hmmm, I wonder what else the book has to offer...

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