Monday, June 28, 2010

Shrimp and Black Bean Taco Salad

Weekend Update:

Went to the Elk Ridge City Carnival. It's Utah County's best kept secret. My boys indulged in cotton candy, old fashioned carnival games, snow cones, ice cold soda, bounce house and lots of prizes. And I spent a little under $10. Best kept secret.

Made some really grand Sunday mashed potatoes using a bunch of my herbs from my backyard. It's as close to a garden as we are going to get this year. I didn't want to put in a garden and then have a newborn. So maybe next summer. For now, we are just doing herbs, which I suppose is better than nothing. But if you have a garden, let me know when you have more zucchini and tomatoes than you can handle. I would be glad to take those off your hands.

Darling daughter and her darling smile.

Sat at El Azteca with my sister Caitlyn and her new baby Samson for 2 hours. We ate beef tacos and chips and salsa and talked all about babies. Violet and Sam are exactly one month apart. So Caitlyn and I have a lot in common these days. Samson is Caitlyn's first baby and her and her husband Tadd are completely smitten. Caitlyn says Tadd can't get enough of Samson. I told her that once Samson starts smiling, say goodbye to your husband because Tadd is going to die. Smiling babies are the best. Violet has been smiling up a storm and our whole family is in love.

There you have it. My weekend. And now onto a recipe.

Here is a completely self-indulgent salad by me. This salad is all of my favorite things. Spicy shrimp, black beans, fresh pico de gallo and avocados. Instead of throwing all of those together in a bowl, I made it make more sense by adding tortilla chips, romaine lettuce and a creamy tomatillo dressing. You know the dressing I am talking about. The one that us Western United Statesers can't inhale fast enough. Cafe Rio's Tomatillo Ranch Dressing. As expected, it tied everything together perfectly.

For the dressing
2 cups Ranch dressing
3 tomatillos, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 lime, juiced
1 cup cilantro
2 tsp Tabasco
Pinch of cayenne pepper

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Cover and store in the fridge until serving.

For the pico de gallo:
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside until serving.

For the salad:
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined and tails removed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp chile powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 bag tortilla chips
1 head romaine, chopped
2 avocados, diced

In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, black beans, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and chile powder. Mix well and set aside. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Once the oil runs quickly in the pan, add shrimp and black beans. Saute until shrimp are pink and barely cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer shrimp and black beans to a medium bowl.

To assemble salads, add a few tortilla chips to a plate. Add a small handful of romaine, some diced avocado and then a spoonful of pico de gallo. Spoon on a few shrimp and some black beans and then finish with a drizzle of the dressing.

Yields 6 servings.

After snapping a few shots, I shoveled some of this awesome salad in my mouth before rushing over to pick up a fussy Violet. It was so good. So very good.

Click here.


Lindsey Johnson said...

Well, you know someone who has more tomato plants than she knows what to do with. Even though this person *cough cough* didn't share any strawberries from her garden.

(I want to eat that salad and drink the dressing.)

Lindsey Johnson said...

Came back to say how much I adore Violet. Wanna trade her in for a feisty almost-2-year-old?

Vanessa said...

Your baby is so beautiful!

MH. lovely by m said...

baby V: so so delicious
salad: officially on next weeks menu!

Sarah said...

3 important things to say: (does that sound a little cocky?)
1. What a beautiful baby!
2. I love El Azteca
3. That recipe sounds fabulous. Mmm. That dressing

bjahlstrom said...

I need help with cilantro, and I'm sure Whitney has the answer to this one. I've used cilantro twice the past month, and both times, something went really wrong.

The first time, I promise I rinsed it, but it was still crunchy, like it had sand in it. It ruined my black bean hummus wrap.

The second time, I chopped it up, but two things happened: (1) the pieces seemed too big, and I got stems in the salsa, and it just wasn't appetizing that way, and (2) as soon as it touched the orange juice in my orange-mango salsa, it withered, wilted, yellowed, and turned goopy.

So, how do I resolve: (a) making sure the cilantro really is clean and sand-free, (b) chopping cilantro correctly (do you pick the little leafies of one-by-one and then mince it?), and (c) was my cilantro just deceptively old, or do I need to steer clear of really acidic mix-ins, like orange juice?

Thank you in advance! This blog rocks.