Some nights, you just want something simple that you can whip up in ten minutes or less. A good salad can be a cheap, easy solution to this problem. Or, if you feel like eating a big bowl of lettuce doesn't appeal to you, lettuce wraps can sometimes be a little more fun to eat. For this salad recipe, and for any other, really, you can turn the dish into lettuce wraps just by getting big leaves of lettuce, using those as lettuce wraps, mixing up the remaining salad ingredients as you see fit, and spooning those into the lettuce leaves as you go. Whether you make salad or lettuce wraps, either is a good dinner to veg out in front of the TV with. No pun intended, of course!
For this blackened shrimp salad, I checked out the Wikipedia page on blackening as a cooking technique, and glanced at a few recipes for blackened seasoning, like this one from About.com's Southern Cooking page. While I don't think I'd ever actually had blackened shrimp before, I had had blackened chicken, so I knew pretty much what the flavor should be like. Blackening, according to that Wiki page, is a cooking technique where your protein is dipped in melted butter and then a mix of spices, and finally cooked at a high heat in a cast iron skillet.
So first, just melt a little butter in a small pan or the microwave. I decided to use precooked shrimp for this recipe because fresh, raw shrimp can be pretty time-consuming to shell and prepare, and I was in the mood to whip up something quick and easy. My recommendation is, make your life easier and use precooked shrimp for this dish.
This is just a little of the blackening spice mix I prepared. You can take a look at the About.com link above for more specifics, but much of this seasoning mixture is comprised of paprika, oregano and black pepper, with onion powder, garlic powder and thyme playing supporting roles.
Shell your shrimp--so they'll be easy to eat in the salad--and dip them in the melted butter and then get them coated well with your spice mixture. Turn your cast iron skillet to medium-high, and add only a little oil, just enough to prevent your shrimp from sticking to your skillet. Cook those for a couple minutes on each side, or until they've got a nice crust.
Just before cooking your shrimp, wash your greens (whichever kind you'd like), and then while your shrimp cook, grate some parmesan. This Trader Joe's parm was pretty cheap, and has a great depth of flavor. And as an added bonus, the flavor of the shrimp and the flavor of the parm complement each other really nicely.
Prepare your salad: lettuce, parm, shrimp, and a little drizzle of EVOO to keep the dish from being too dry. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all tomorrow for a porktacularly--err, spectacularly--delicious dish. Have a great night, and stay cool!