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05/23/2013

~ A Summertime Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad ~

IMG_7277Yikes!  Here in Central Pennsylvania, the weather has done a real-life, real-deal, flip-flop.  Last week, in 40 degree temperatures, I was baking cookies to warm up my kitchen.  This week, with 90 degree temperatures,  I find myself scrolling through my recipe archives for cold salads and lighter fare, to avoid heating the kitchen at all.  Yesterday, I shot my weekly Kitchen Encounters segment for WHVL-TV's Sunday morning Centre of It All Show.  It was episode #41:

IMG_7154I prepared my recipe for ~ Shrimp & Pasta Salad w/Lemony Garlic Dressing + (Three Tips for Properly Preparing Pasta Salad too!) ~.  You can find the recipe in Categories 2, 10, 14, 15 or 17!  This dish not only beats the heat, it stands up to it too.  It is one of my all-time favorite, go-to, one-dish, main-dish Summertime meals, and, it would be great to take to an outdoor Memorial Day potluck picnic.  This picture was taken just before the crew (& me) dug into it!

IMG_7138 IMG_7139 IMG_5428When you're doing a cooking segment for TV, you've got to plan for unforeseen technical difficulites or mishaps...  

IMG_5428... We have had very few, but it requires me to always have a back-up for every ingredient on hand in case it does.  Yes, that does mean extra work (this is the not-so-glamorous part of being on TV), but, it also means I almost always have some great leftover ingredients afterward.  In the case of today, I have an extra pound of perfectly-cooked shrimp in my refrigerator!

To learn how I like to cook shrimp...

PICT4409... in a mixture of water, white wine, lemon and fragrant bay leaves: 

PICT4452~ Once upon a time... A Tale About Shrimp Cocktail ~ can be found in Categories 1, 11, 14, 16 & 21!

PICT4940No avocado is a good as the Hass avocado (rhymes with pass) and this morning, I found some perfectly-ripe ones at the market. The moment I saw them, I knew what shimp salad I'd be making for dinner tonight, so, then I bought a box of tomatoes, a couple of limes, and, some cilantro too!

~ Everything You Need to Know About the Avocado ~ can be found in Kitchen Encounters Categories 15 & 16, or, by clicking on the Related Article link below!

IMG_7184You'll need high-quality tomatoes. There is no substitute for a freshly-picked tomato straight out of the garden, but here in Happy Valley, we won't have any of those for a couple of months, so:  it's Campari tomatoes for me until then! 

This light, refreshing, oh-so tasty salad can be served as:

an appetizer, a side-dish, or, a small meal.

Wrap it in a lettuce leaf, put it on a flour tortilla, or eat it as is!

IMG_7276This salad is great way to start the outdoor entertaining season!

IMG_72031  pound cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, chopped into 1/2" pieces and chilled (Note:  Here are calculations to make this easy:  1 pound of cooked, 1/2" diced shrimp = 2 generous cups of diced shrimp.  1 1/4 pounds uncooked shrimp = 1 pound cooked shrimp after removing tails. )

1 1/2 cups, 1/2"-3/4" diced, Hass avocados, depending on their size: 2-3 avocados

1 1/2  cups, 1/2"-3/4" chopped, Campari tomatoes, or freshly-picked vine-ripened tomatoes

1/2  cup diced red onion

1  tablespoon very finely-diced jalapeno pepper, no seeds or white rib sections

2  tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves, no stems included

2 limes, about 2  tablespoons lime juice

zest from 2 limes, stir zest from 1 into the salad and reserve zest from the other for garnishing finished salad

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend, to taste (Note:  I use 10 grinds of sea salt and 30 grinds of peppercorn blend.  If you're looking for a measurement for table salt and pepper: start with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and work your way up from there.)

1- 1 1/2  tablespoons high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil

additional cilantro sprigs, for garnish

IMG_7216 IMG_7214~ Step 1. Prep the shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cilantro as directed, placing them in a large bowl as you work.  Add the lime juice and zest from 1 lime.  Using a large rubber spatula, gently and thoroughly combine until all ingredients are coated in lime juice.

IMG_7224~ Step 2.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold mixture together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle in the olive oil.  Using the spatula, gently but thoroughly toss until all ingredients are coated in oil.  Serve immediately or transfer mixture to a food storage container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Note:  This is truly best served immediately, and 1-2 hours in the refrigerator doesn't damage it, but any longer than that = compromise:

IMG_7228A Summertime Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad:  Recipe yields 6 cups, 6, 1-cup servings/8, 3/4-cup servings/12, 1/2 cup servings

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; large rubber spatula; 2-quart food storage container w/tight fitting lid 

6a0120a8551282970b0133f3d743ae970b-500wiCook's Note:  Can't decide what to serve this salad with?  It goes great with corn on the cob.  You might want to read ~ The Corn Chronicles:  Perfect Corn on the Cob ~ to get all of my tips for choosing and cooking corn.  The recipe is in Categories 4, 10 or 15!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)

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