Warm Spicy Shrimp Salad

Thai spicy salad

It seems pretty clear that winter is really over. OK, it’s been really over for quite a while now, but we all know there is always that ever-present chance of a late season storm that we have seen so many times in the past. As I’m writing this, you still can’t legally park on the streets yet, which for many is the true end of winter. But, this winter has really been one for the books and with each passing day of temperatures steadily rising, it’s time to give in to an early summer and the urges of lighter meals and more salads.

Due to the strong flavors and warm temperature of the dressing, I like to mix in some of the heartier greens like spinach, arugula and even some kale and chard with a traditional baby greens mix. I will say that chard, which is often boiled first and used in a lot of Mediterranean dishes, can be fairly strong when used raw, so I just use a little and none of the stems. This is a great salad for this time of year since these leafy veggies are often the ones you get in your first coop vegetable boxes.

I happen to love ginger and therefore this recipe is fairly spicy with the amount that I use along with the crushed red pepper flakes, so if you want to tone it down a little, just use less ginger. The heat this gives is strong, but unlike a habanera pepper, it doesn’t linger all that long and doesn’t annihilate your taste buds. You can still taste the fruit and different types of lettuces and veggies along with the shrimp.

Also, as always, feel free to add or subtract ingredients according to your own desires. Great additions would be other veggies like carrots, broccoli and bean sprouts, along with walnuts lightly roasted or even candied, and I have added coconut in the past, which was good. Oh, and this recipe is also great over rice, served alone as an appetizer, or cooked on the grill using the marinade as a glaze.


Warm Spicy Shrimp Salad

Makes 4 salads

8 oz. lettuce mix

20 mandarin orange slices

20 pear slices

16 cucumber slices

1/8 C sesame seeds

1 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined 16-20’s or add a few, if using smaller size

3 T olive oil

2 T orange juice

2 T lime juice

2 T lemon juice

2 T white wine

1 t soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1½ T fresh ginger, minced

¼ t red pepper flakes

¼ t coriander

1/8 t cumin

1/8 t tarragon

2 bay leaves

½ t sesame oil

1 T honey

1 T pear juice

1 t rice vinegar

2 T chopped parsley

Combine 2 T of the olive oil and all ingredients down including the bay leaves for the marinade. Marinade the shrimp for about 1 hour. In a sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp and cook on medium high for about half a minute to a minute before flipping to cook the other side so they are barely pink. Place on a plate.

Pour the marinade along with the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, into the pan and let reduce a little. Add the shrimp to finish cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the parsley. Arrange salad with sliced cucumber, mandarin slices, pear slices and shrimp. Drizzle with warm dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Chef Smitty
Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Smitty has been teaching skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for more than 26 years each winter, and spends his summers working for High Sierra Waterski School since 2000. Smitty has been writing his chef column for Tahoe Weekly since 2005.