Friday, September 18, 2009

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Salad with Avocado, Mango and Jicama


This salad, like many of the recipes that are bulging from my recipe file, is a re-creation of something we had while dining out. This tendency of mine to continually add to my already well-stocked clipping file, cookbook library and hoards of food magazines, while fun, is what I've realized is impeding my progress on getting my little family cookbook together. While I KNOW some of the recipes that are "musts" to include, I seem to always be finding new ones that I think might also be nice...and the dilemma continues. This little cookbook project shouldn't be so difficult. Afterall, it's not a major publishing venture...being a run of only TWO books!! Initially I thought I'd whip through this endeavor in time to have the project completed and tucked under the tree for Christmas. Well...that's not happening.

Rather than give up, I've decided that this "book" will be what I make it. There's always additions that can come later. The intent is what is important: to give our girls a little legacy of our savory nest. It could be as simple as "xeroxing" the recipes I have and pasting them into a book, or as elaborate as designing a book and having it professionally printed. I've decided that my "nature" requires something in the upper range of this spectrum. And after quite a few emails I've received from friends, sharing their own attempts to organize their many recipes and/or pass along favorites to their own offspring, I thought I'd share a little find that I think I may use for my own cookbook. 

There are many options in the Land of Web that offer bookmaking services. (I've made several photo books using Mac Books and they've turned out great.) After researching a few, I came across Blurb.com, a site which offers a few ways to accomplish the publishing effort. If you are proficient in InDesign, you can simply download their InDesign-compatible templates (to ensure page specifications) and create your own design; get page specifications and create your book using your own design software (uploading final PDFs to them for printing); or, download their bookmaking software and create your book using their pre-designed templates. The great thing is they have special cookbook design options which makes it nice and easy if you choose this last route. I have decided that I'll either design my own book using InDesign...or download their software (which I know will be quicker). Either way, I think finding this site (and recognizing the need to just move forward...new recipe finds and all) will help me meet my goal. Though not for this holiday...maybe with the Easter Bunny?

I particularly like this little salad. Grilled shrimp is always tasty...and, as I think I've relayed already...I love cilantro-lime dressings and marinades. Adding to the love...you've got mango (yum), jicama (yum and crunchy...always a nice add), and avocado (double yum...or, perhaps, triple yum to be exact). I have to admit that I have friends who stay away from foods like avocados...thinking it's a "fat" food. They pluck it out of salads or ask that it be served on the side...even knowing it's high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Well, I just saw avocados mentioned in an article (MORE magazine, September 2009) on how to fight belly fat...I know, fun stuff! Apparently research is showing that a diet high in MUFAs can help "prevent the deposition of fat around your middle." So pile that avocado on!!

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Salad with Avocado, Mango and Jicama
serves 4

Shrimp & Marinade:
1 pound (20-25 count) raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I left the tails on)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad:
1 5-ounce container fresh mixed baby greens
1 large mango, peeled and diced into 1" cubes
1 large red pepper, cut into julienne slices/sticks
1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into julienne slices/sticks
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, cut into slices (or more!)

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine shrimp, olive oil, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, lime zest, and salt. Set aside in fridge to marinate for at least an hour.

2. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients (olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, orange juice, honey, salt and pepper). Set aside. 

3. Toss salad fixings in a large bowl (greens through cilantro...keeping avocado separate to garnish plates...I just like the presentation and think it holds its shape better for this salad). Set aside.

5. Place marinated shrimp on grill at medium-high heat. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, depending on size of shrimp, just until opaque and cooked through.

6. Toss salad fixings with dressing and plate. Place grilled shrimp on top of greens. Add sliced avocado to side of plate.