|Honest is the best policy: I was too hungry to take much time with a photo.|
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It seems when I'm out with friends on some version of the protein and vegetable diet, they often end up with a Caesar Salad and Grilled Chicken or Grilled Salmon, if they're lucky. I don't eat Caesar salad in restaurants a lot because they're often goopy-- soft and unappetizing. And, truly, I love my own salads. Even more, I love homemade vinaigrette.
Yesterday Dave and I were at the grocery looking at fish for supper and I saw a great buy on large, gorgeous uncooked shrimp. (Since shrimp takes two minutes to cook, why is there so much pre-cooked shrimp for sale?) I remembered I had a bag of cleaned romaine at home in the frig, and asked for a pound of that shrimp for $9.99. When the shrimp are large, there aren't that many in a pound; I figured whatever was leftover, we'd have the next day for a snack.
The salad we had for supper was a great end of summer meal, complete with tiny tomatoes right out of our garden. It was also light, and could be stunning in the middle of winter using an indoor grill when you've gotten sick of stew and roasted chicken! My large, double-burner cast iron (Lodge) grill gets a real work out once the outdoor gas grill is stored away in the garage for the cold months. It was a sweet gift from my in-laws that we used for camping for years.
Dave grilled the bread for crostini --to replace the traditional croutons-- as well as the shrimp while I made the salad dressing, tore the greens into pieces, and grated the Parmesan. (I keep 1/2 baguettes frozen most of the time; I had unthawed it in its foil wrapping that morning.) I think total time for putting the entire meal together was all of fifteen minutes. We had a few slices of bread and some shrimp leftover, as well as some vinaigrette. To give the nod toward old-school Caesar, I briefly microwaved an egg and whisked it into the vinaigrette. (Leave it out if you like.)
You could, naturally, make this much easier with bagged greens, pre-cooked shrimp, along with purchased croutons and bottled vinaigrette. You wouldn't be nearly as happy, though. The beauty is in the lemony, spicy dressing with the barely done shellfish and ultra-crisp Romaine. It's done so quickly, I'm not sure it's worth simplifying. You'll need to start at least an hour ahead to marinate the shrimp. Try this:
grilled oregano shrimp-caesar salad with tomatoes and crostini Enough for two very hungry people who had sliced tomatoes+a spoonful of potato salad for lunch
Read through the recipe before beginning. You may want to do its steps in a different order if you're cooking alone; I had a helper. Ingredients needed are in italics. Set the table and open the wine before you begin. I like the Chardonnay not terribly cold, though I do like it chilled.
1. Marinade 1 pound (450 grams) large, peeled and deveined shrimp in 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon oregano for 1-4 hours in a tightly covered glass or plastic bowl. Slice 12 slices of baguette, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper on both sides for crostini.
2. Heat indoor or outdoor grill over high heat and grill shrimp 1-2 minutes on each side until shrimp is pink and opaque, removing as soon as done. Add the baguette to the grill and grill 30 seconds on each side. Place shrimp and bread in a bowl, and set on table.
3. Next, make the Caesar dressing: Crack an egg into a greased bowl, poke with fork several times, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high about fifteen seconds. Whisk well and set aside for a moment. Whisk together in a large bowl 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard, 2 tablespoons best-quality white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, 1 crushed and minced clove garlic, and 4-5 drops hot sauce. Whisk in 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon at a time. Beat the egg into vinaigrette mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour into a small serving pitcher, leaving a tablespoon or so in the bottom of the bowl.
4. Slice in half 8 cherry tomatoes. Slice very thinly about 1/4 cup of red onion. Add tomatoes and onion to the bowl and toss in the bit of dressing in the bottom.
5. Tear 4 cups romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl, tossing. Stir in 1 cup fresh, young spinach. Squeeze 1/2 a fresh lemon over all, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and toss. Grate 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and add to the greens.
6. Drizzle with a generous amount of dressing and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately in large and shallow cold bowls, adding shrimp, and crostini at the table. Garnish with anchovy filets, if desired.
Wine: Big, oaky California Chardonnay or a (French) White Burgundy.
Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,