May 9, 2012

Fajita Shrimp Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

I had a major dinner mishap last night; but thankfully, I was able to recover and come up with this tasty, tasty salad. I had menu planned and started preparing the Pioneer Woman's Shrimp Quesadillas, only to discover I did not have two of the main ingredients. I didn't take inventory before I went grocery shopping this week, and I thought I had both the El Pato sauce and tortillas on hand. It turns out that I didn't have either. Doh! As you can guess, it's pretty much impossible to make quesadillas without tortillas. Sadly, I didn't discover this little tidbit of info (i.e. the missing ingredients) until dinner was well underway. (Normally, I would have tried to make tortillas, however it was already 5:30pm and there just wasn't enough time.) I decided to serve my quesadilla filling over salad greens and concoct a dressing instead. The salad and dressing ended up both being hits. Totally delicious!!! Whew!!!

Fajita Shrimp Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing


2 heads of chopped romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of canola oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb. of raw shrimp, peel and deveined (I used large count)
1/2 jar of your favorite salsa
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 diced avocado (optional)

1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 garlic clove
1 whole Chipotle chiles
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup cilantro


To cook the veggies/shrimp:
In a large bowl, add raw shrimp and salsa. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the vegetables.

In a cast iron skillet heat canola oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot and shimmering, add onions and peppers. Cook until softened and slightly charred. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove onion and peppers to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

In the same skillet, add shrimp and salsa mixture. Cook the shrimp until pink and salsa has reduced to become thick and coat the shrimp. Remove to the same bowl that the onions and peppers are cooling in and set aside again.

Again, in the same skillet add a little more canola oil if necessary, but do not clean the skillet out completely. (You want all of the previous charred/cooked bits from veggies and shrimp in the pan.) When oil is hot, add zucchini, and cook until slightly charred and softened. (The zucchini should pick up the other cooked bits of flavor from the skillet.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove to the same shrimp/veggie bowl to cool. Add fresh, chopped cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine all the cooked ingredients.

To make the dressing:
In a food processor, add all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Pulse a few times to chop/combine everything. Once all the ingredients are well combined, switch the food processor to continuously spin and drizzle in the olive oil in the top of the processor. Once mixture is emulsified, turn food processor off and remove dressing to a mason jar. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

To assemble the salad:
Place chopped romaine on plates. Top with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes. Add a generous scoop of cooled veggies/shrimp mixture. (Add black beans and/or avocado, if desired.) Top with dressing and serve.

I would have added a can of rinsed/drained black beans if I would have had them on hand. Diced avocado would've been a great addition, as well. Maybe next time...

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