Sometimes, you have to go off road to get exactly what you want. It’s funny; when I got the idea that I wanted a shrimp and avocado and either grapefruit or mango salad for dinner, I thought there would be at least half a dozen recipes at my fingertips in my stacks of cookbooks. Nope. Not one.
I tried all the usual suspects: Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, Forever Summer (Nigella Lawson), various titles from the Barefoot Contessa (although I never, ever find anything I want to eat in her books – pretty pictures though). I even checked Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise – I always wish I could find something there because it’s so well researched, and invariably I have to look elsewhere.
Finally, in desperation, I checked Joy. Nothing. Not specifically anyway. I kept flipping through and finally found two recipes I could cobble together. What is it about Joy of Cooking? I wouldn’t be without it. People denigrate it. They complain that it has no pictures and that the recipes are written in a laborious way. I admit, it is an old fashioned kind of book. Other fancier cookbooks left me high and dry today though and Joy had all the pieces I needed to put dinner together. Look how it came out:
I was pretty happy. No. Better than that. Very happy. We all were. No complaints today. In retrospect, the only thing I might have added were either some toasted pine nuts or frizzled shallots.
So, cobbled together from the Joy of Cooking:
Cilantro Grilled Shrimp with Avocado and Mango Salad
For the shrimp:
- 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp – medium or large (I buy them pre-peeled and deveined, sustainably farm raised – peeling and deveining is too time consuming)
- 1/3 c lime juice – from 3-4 juicy limes
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
For the salad:
- 2-3 lemons (for a total of 1/4 c + 2 tbsp juice and 1 lemon half to keep avocados from browning)
- 1/4 c water
- 2 ripe Hass avocados
- 2 Ataulfo mangos (these are the golden variety, or one of the other greenish larger kind)
- 1/2 a large red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 hearts of romaine, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
- Start the coals or heat up a gas grill.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the lime juice, cilantro, chili flakes, salt and pepper together. Add shrimp to bowl and toss. Set aside to marinate as you prepare the red onion, salad dressing and mango.
- Rinse the onion slices in several changes of water. In a small bowl, toss them with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 c water and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk 1/2 c olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Peel and cut mangos into 1/4″ slices.
- Thread the shrimp onto 6″ bamboo skewers. (I had 10 skewers with 4 shrimp on each)
- Peel and cut avocados into 1/4″ slices. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon over the slices to prevent browning.
- Grill the shrimp skewers over direct medium heat for 3 minutes per side.
- Toss the romaine with half the olive oil vinaigrette.
- Arrange the mangos and the avocados over the romaine. Drain the onion slices and strew over the salad. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over everything. Arrange the shrimp skewers on top.
*Since we have a possible shrimp allergy with one of the kids, I grilled a chicken breast with the shrimp. The salad can be served with either chicken or fish or on its own.