Now that summer is nearly upon us, I thought I’d share one of my favorite salads. It’s almost a meal in itself when the temperature soars and I want a light meal. In addition to the ease of preparation and the freshness of the salad, it’s a healthy meal choice, which is important to me.
In the early 1970’s, I spent two summers in Monterrey, Mexico, where I was introduced to the lime juice-marinated seafood appetizer known as ceviche. I was hooked for life on it, but seldom have the real thing here in the Midwest. Although this isn’t actually ceviche, this salad has the clean, crisp, cool flavor that’s similar to what I love. (If you’re ever in Branson, MO, there’s a Mexican restaurant called Cantina Laredo at Branson Landing that serves a good ceviche salad. It has shrimp, scallops, and fish, often mahi mahi, in addition to the vegetables, and goes a long way toward satisfying my urge to relive some of my favorite meals that I had in Monterrey.)
This recipe is quick to make, and really hits the spot. Since my family is fond of it, too, I’m sure “Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad” will be on the menu often this summer.
Here’s a tip about cutting up jalapeño peppers (as well as any other peppers that you might be reluctant to handle). I don’t like to wear disposable gloves while working in the kitchen, and thought long and hard about how I could work with peppers, yet have as little contact with the seeds and membranes (where the heat mostly lies) as possible. I decided to try cutting off the “cheeks” of the pepper. (The “cheeks” are where you will find the majority of the pepper’s flesh.) I hold the pepper stem side up, and slice from the stem to the tip, leaving the membranes and seeds mostly attached to the top of the pepper. The photo to the right shows the “cheeks” and the rest of the pepper. This technique works with all of the peppers that I use. (I can’t vouch for its success with super hot peppers, such as habaneros, because I seldom use them. In fact, I haven’t used any of the extremely hot peppers since I first tried this method.)
- ¼ c. thinly sliced red onion (Cut the onion slices in half or chop them if they are too long to be eaten politely.)
- ¼ c. fresh lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 10 oz. cooked, shelled, and deveined shrimp, large or jumbo, if possible. (More shrimp can be added.)
- 5 oz. diced avocado (1½ to 2 medium)
- 1 medium fresh tomato, diced (123 g.)
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
- 1 T. fresh cilantro (chopped)
- In a small bowl, combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside for at least 5 minutes in order for the flavor of the onion to mellow.
- Chop the shrimp, and then add it to a large bowl. Gently stir in the avocado, tomato, and jalapeno.
- Stir in the lime juice mixture, and then add the cilantro. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Serve cold.