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Spunky Shrimp Salad

September 03, 1997|BEV BENNETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Bennett is the author of "Dinner for Two" (Barron's, 1994)

Shrimp salad is the perfect summer lunch. When entertaining, you can make it in advance and pull it from the refrigerator at meal time. It's great when you're going to the Hollywood Bowl or similar event and want a meal that is as durable as it is delicious. And it's great when you want to treat yourself to a light and lovely entree.

I prefer mayonnaise-based dressings for a salad in which shrimp is the focus. But when I add fruits and vegetables, I want a cleaner, sharper taste and choose a slightly sweetened lemon juice and oil combination.

Shrimp-fennel salad, which also includes nectarine, green onion and jalapen~o, is a marvelous mix of sweet, tart and hot tastes. Although it seems delicate, it will withstand a bicycle trip to a picnic site. It can be made just before a meal or several hours in advance and chilled. Complete the menu with iced tea, biscuits and fresh strawberries and yogurt.

SHRIMP-FENNEL SALAD

1/2 pound shrimp

6 peppercorns

Water

1 large nectarine, pitted and diced

1 green onion, chopped

1 small bulb fennel

1 jalapen~o, seeded and minced

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Lettuce

Place shrimp and peppercorns in pan with water to cover. Bring to simmer, turn off heat, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Drain, peel and devein shrimp. Cut into bite-size chunks if shrimp are large. Place in bowl with nectarine and green onion.

Trim stem end off fennel bulb. Thinly slice bulb, then cut into strips. Cut thin strips of fennel stalk about 1 inch up each stalk. Add fennel and jalapen~o to shrimp mixture.

Stir together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, honey, oil and salt and pepper to taste in cup. (Note: If nectarine is sweet, use 3 tablespoons lemon juice.) Pour over salad and toss gently but well. Set aside 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Arrange lettuce on 2 plates and divide salad evenly.

2 servings. Each serving:

274 calories; 342 mg sodium; 172 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 0.71 gram fiber.

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