Our box of California lemons just arrived, and we are enjoying the luxury of a much-needed burst of sunshine. Bowls of cheerful yellow lemons decorate the kitchen table, fragrant lemon slices brighten the afternoon cup of tea with delicate lemon shortbread cookies, and savory lemon zest adds zip to dressings, salads, fish and chicken.
After the indulgence of the holiday season, it’s a welcome relief to incorporate a little citrus into my cooking, and lighten our cuisine. Shrimp and White Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing is a delicious way to enjoy the bounty of Maine’s shrimp season. This dish was adapted from a recipe I read in Sunset magazine, a west coast publication.
Wilted greens are combined with garlic sautéed shrimp and tossed with a bright lemony dressing to create a salad that has layers of textures and flavors from mild to some what bitter. The original recipe calls for mixed chicories: endive, escarole, frisee, and radicchio. These curly and robust-flavored greens are not readily available in my market, so instead I substituted red and green cabbage and added some spinach. This salad would also be good with watercress.
Wilting, a technique of cooking greens with some oil until they just start to cook or “wilt” is an easy preparation once you get started. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavors, and be careful not to overcook the delicate Maine shrimp. Finish this satisfying meal with come crusty bread and a glass of white wine.
Shrimp and White Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing
- 1 pound uncooked, peeled & deveined, Maine shrimp
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound kale, cabbage, or mixed chicories greens (endive, radicchio, escarole) – finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (15 ounce can, drained & rinsed)
- Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Toss the shrimp, minced garlic, and thyme in a medium bowl and set aside.
- To prepare the dressing, whisk together 4 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, the lemon zest and juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/3 of the greens. Cook, stirring frequently with tongs, until the greens start to wilt, about 30 – 45 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Wilt the remaining greens, adding more oil as necessary. Reduce the heat under the pan. Add the shrimp and cook, turning with the tongs, and cook until pink, about 1 minute. Add the beans and wilted greens, cooking until warm. Return to bowl and toss with the lemon dressing. Serve immediately.
- Makes four servings.