Shrimp salad a refreshing dish for summertime

Chandler Holland / Times-News correspondent

   Selecting seafood is a tangled up mess of hooks, lures and nets if ever there was one. One of the hardest choices we make when shopping at the grocery store, or even when ordering at the local diner, is selecting seafood. Finding the perfect combination of cost, variety, sustainable fishing practices and, most importantly, a healthy selection of your favorite seafood is quite a challenge.
The key is knowledge. Knowing if your seafood is farmed or wild, as well as where and how it was caught, can make a huge difference in how healthy it is for you and for the environment. Reliable and reputable resources are available online, that will help you figure out where and what kind of seafood is best for you.
The following organizations provide trustworthy guidance in helping you select safe seafood: Fish Watch U.S. Seafood Facts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at www.fishwatch.gov and the Marine Stewardship Council Certified Sustainable Seafood at www.msc.org. The Monterey Bay Aquarium publishes a printable seafood watch guide at www.seafoodwatch.org. This handy guide will fit in your wallet so you will always have easy access to this important resource.
   The perfect summer dish is an easy salad with shrimp fresh from the coast. North Carolina wild-caught shrimp is healthy as well as environmentally friendly, not to mention its amazing flavor.

 Roasted Shrimp Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

 This recipe was modified from the Santa Fe Shrimp Salad at The Oceanic restaurant in Wrightsville Beach.

Shrimp:
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
1½ teaspoons sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cumin

   Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Heat a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven. In a bowl, stir together all ingredients, except shrimp, mixing well. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Arrange coated shrimp in a single layer on the hot baking sheet. Roast, without turning, for 5 minutes. Shrimp should be browned on the bottom, and pink throughout. Chill shrimp before adding to salad.

Salad:
16 to 24 corn tortilla chips
2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn
1 avocado, cut into chunks
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
½ large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped

Dressing:
1 ripe avocado, mashed
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dill weed, dried
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon juice

   Blend all ingredients together, chill before using. If a thinner dressing is desired, add a little more buttermilk. In each salad bowl, place four tortilla chips equidistant around the side of the bowl. Lay the lettuce in the bottom of the bowl. Arrange avocado, bacon, onion, egg and bell pepper on top of lettuce. Place shrimp on top. Dressing may be drizzled over salad, or served on the side. Makes four to six servings.

 Chandler Holland is a rising home-schooled junior and a Teens & Twenties writer. She is an intern at C’est si Bon! Cooking School, and co-teaches the Kitchen Capers kid’s cooking classes at Alamance Arts.

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