Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tandoori Shrimp Salad

This dish was something I randomly came up with one night a few weeks ago while trying to decide how to use the shrimp I had defrosted.  I started thinking that we hadn't had an entree salad in awhile and then started thinking about what kind of shrimp salad I could make that would be interesting enough to appeal to Alex (who isn't a huge fan of the entree salad genre but goes along with it to humor me).  I started kicking around ideas in my head until I came up with the idea of doing a quasi-Indian tandoori shrimp salad - marinating the shrimp tandoori style, crisping up some garlic naan to use as croutons and rounding out the salad with the cucumber, red onion and radishes we already had in the fridge.  When I hit the grocery store to pick up some salad greens and the naan I decided that baby spinach sounded like the obvious choice.  Then I decided that some grape tomatoes would be another nice addition to the salad.  And then I went home and started wildly throwing stuff together.

My favorite elements of the salad were the shrimp (even though we overcooked them they had nice flavor) and the whole garlic naan as crouton idea.  Unfortunately, overcooking seemed to be something of a theme because I wandered off and crisped up the naan a little more than I had intended.  Oops.  I also love salads full of herbs and random veggies.  Adding herbs to salads is somewhat new to me (and I only do it occasionally), but ever since I had a salad at The Spotted Pig that included some fresh mint I have been intrigued by the idea of using herbs (in moderation) in salads.  Now that I think about it there was an Asian salad I was obsessed with over the summer at Chop't that also included herbs.  Unfortunately they rotate their menu of salads and that salad is no longer available, but I have high hopes that it will be back next summer.  The dressing was also nice - I liked the interplay between the tang of the Greek yogurt, the hint of sweetness from the honey and the warmth from the spices.  I would definitely try the dressing again and play with the spices until I found the perfect combination (I think the combination we found was a good one and worked really well with the salad, but I'm sure that there are a lot of different variations that would be just as good, if not better).

Recipe after the jump!

Tandoori Shrimp Salad

For shrimp:
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, stems removed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 small red onion, peeled and very roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
Juice of 2 small limes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
For dressing:

2 tbsp Green yogurt
2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
1 scallion, green and white parts, thinly sliced
pinch ground cumin
pinch ground coriander
pinch ground garam masala
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
For salad:
1 piece garlic naan 
4-5 cups baby spinach
3 tbsp cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and roughly chopped
2-3 radishes, trimmed, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 

    In a blender, puree the first 8 ingredients until they form a paste.  Toss the shrimp with the marinade in a large non-reactive bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Once the oven is preheated, toast in the oven about 7-10 minutes, until crispy and lightly golden brown.  Set aside until cooled and then chop or break into croutons.

    Combine yogurt, lemon juice, cider vinegar, honey, scallion, spices and s&p in a small bowl.  Whisk until well-combined.

    Remove shrimp from the refrigerator and set aside to come up to room temperature.  Drain excess marinade.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil.  Once the skillet is hot, add shrimp.  Saute until firm and just opaque, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

    Combine spinach, cucumbers, radishes, cherry tomatoes and naan croutons in a large bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Top with shrimp and serve.

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