june 3, 2016
When I have overindulged in creamy, starchy foods, nothing makes me feel balanced like a meal-in-a bowl with lots of crunchy veggies and a little protein. There is no guilt associated with my heavier food phase, but rather an uncomfortable fullness and a food fatigue that calls for lighter fare.
Salads like Breakfast Bistro and Burrata Caprese Salad give a good balance of fat, carbohydrate and protein and because they require a lot of chewing (unlike beloved creamy, starchy foods like herbed mashed potatoes and pasta with kale apricot pesto), I feel satisfied, with a nice lingering fullness that equals meal satisfaction.
When I crave crunchy lightness of being, I look at what is in season, check out what is already in the fridge, add my protein and then make a custom vinaigrette which can cover at least two more salads to come. Salad dressings and vinaigrettes are so easy to make; they keep nicely in the fridge for tossing with greens, vegetables, fruits and meats. For this salad, I had some nice fat shrimp for my protein. Vidalia onions have a brief season and when they arrive from Georgia to the markets, I snatch them up and use them right away (they are not good keepers). Local radishes are a perfect addition to the spring and fall salad; local zucchini is not yet in season, but I wanted an excuse to use my spiralizer (thanks to my buddy Joanie for a cool Christmas gift!).
I always have lovely organic carrots and red cabbage for crunch, but the avocados are the best component of this salad, with their creamy green selves. Now that I know how to make them pretty and floral, there may be more avocados on my future salads and weekend breakfast tostadas.
To soften the Vidalia onions with a quick pickle, they are soaked in a red vinegar/sugar/salt mix; that flavorful vinegar is then whisked with Dijon mustard, oil and hemp seeds for a unique vinaigrette. Whatever dressing you use in salad making, toss in a few hemp seeds for good fat and quirky texture.
The vinaigrette may be made ahead if you don’t pickle the Vidalias (pickling will decrease the oniony taste and tendency to cause heartburn, although Vidalias are among the least pungent of all sweet onions) by a week or two, but assemble this salad at the last minute, showcasing your ability to flow with the seasons…and clean the fridge!
Shrimp, Avocado and Vegetable Salad
makes four servings
one small or one half of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced (Vidalia, if in season)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon creamy Dijon mustard (regular, not coarse grain)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
pinch of finely ground white pepper
¼ cup neutral oil like canola
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, spiral cut or cut in fine long shreds with processor
3 medium carrots, peeled thinly with vegetable peeler
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
2 medium avocados, ripe but firm, sliced thinly or cut as roses
1 pound large shrimp, cooked and chilled
one cup of loosely packed mint leaves
- In nonreactive bowl combine onion with salt, sugar and vinegar; let sit at room temperature about 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain onions but reserve liquid.
- To reserved seasoned vinegar, whisk in mustard, white pepper and hemp seeds, then canola oil in thin stream until nicely emulsified.
- In four large bowls, arrange shrimp, avocado, radish, red cabbage, carrot, zucchini and pickled onion.
- Garnish with mint leaves.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salads at the table and serve immediately.
- click here for nice video on making avocado roses
- if using raw shrimp, peel except for tail and plunge into simmering salted water and wait 30 seconds for shrimp to turn pink and start to curl – drain and spread out to cool