Friday, October 15, 2010

Shrimp and Avocado over Wilted Arugula

I found myself with the dilemma last night of leftover produce in my fridge but a desire to eat something different. With a hefty amount of arugula and basil, my first instinct was to make pesto. The two greens go great together and, add a few toasted walnuts or almonds, you've got a great pesto on your hands. However, I have made a lot of pesto recently. Traditional basil, cilantro and even a corn pesto have all made their way into my meals over the past few weeks. It's not that I don't love pesto--because clearly I do--it's just that I wanted to use that arugula in a different way. I wanted to mellow out that peppery bite without losing it altogether. And I wanted to use it as a background for a lot of other delicious flavors.
 I thought in terms of a salad; the good kind of salad where the lettuce is mostly used as a bed to hold a bunch of other great ingredients. And when mixed together, you have bites full of lots of different flavors as opposed to just a lot of lettuce. That's my kind of salad. So this is what I came up with. A simple sauteed mix of sweet shrimp, juicy tomatoes and meaty mushrooms. And then to finish it off I added that peppery arugula and creamy avocado.  Full of color, full of flavor and definitely not your everyday salad. The warm shrimp wilt the arugula, taking away some of the bite and turning it into a cross between a sauteed green and a lettuce. Chicken could be substituted for the shrimp but I would saute it separately and then toss everything together at the end. This salad makes for a great, healthy meal with some toasted bread or pita points.

Shrimp and Avocado over Wilted Arugula (serves 4)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4-5 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, divided, from 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 4-5 cups arugula
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • Salt and pepper
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Saute mushrooms until they begin to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
Add garlic, season with about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and saute for another minute.
Add cherry tomatoes, stirring to combine, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook until fully pink, another 8 minutes or so.
Toward the end of cooking, add lemon zest, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of basil.
If there's a lot of liquid in the pan, drain some off before adding the shrimp to the arugula. 
In a large bowl, toss together arugula, sauteed shrimp mixture, and avocado.
Season with remaining olive oil, lemon juice, basil and a pinch more salt and pepper.

For a printable recipe click here

Shrimp and Avocado Over Wilted Arugula

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