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Monday, May 2, 2011

Iceberg Shrimp Salad

As well as its superb balance of flavors, the secret to this fine salad is ensuring the iceberg lettuce is cut, cored, crisp, and chilled. It’s quick to prepare and utterly delicious! Some people mistakenly believe that iceberg or “head” lettuce has no nutritive value. In fact, iceberg lettuce is a source of dietary fiber, Vitamins A and C, and iron.

I’ve even heard it called “football” lettuce, the image being that it’s “kicked” north all the way from Mexico or California. While not as exciting as arugula, red lettuce, raw spinach, or the many other varieties of salad greens available today, iceberg lettuce has its uses. The recipe below is but one of them! You can make this great salad in any quantity, but in the recipe below, I’ve chosen to make it for two.
Iceberg Shrimp Salad:
1 head iceberg lettuce (no substitutes), cut in half
1 c. blue cheese salad dressing, either commercially prepared or homemade
⅔-to-1 c. fresh, hand-peeled baby shrimp
¼ c. flaked almonds, toasted (see Note)
Prepare blue cheese salad dressing before starting salad. If using commercially prepared dressing, skip the (really quite marvelous) recipe in my nearby May 2, 2011 post.

With iceberg lettuce cut and cored, make a very thin slice across rounded underside of lettuce head, allowing it to rest flat on serving plate. Chill plates as well as cut, cored iceberg lettuce flat-side down in freezer for 10 min. 

While both plates and lettuce are chilling, toast flaked almonds on baking tray in a preheated 350 deg. F. oven 5 min., or in stovetop skillet at medium-low heat, stirring frequently to ensure almonds don’t burn. Cool. 

Remove plates and lettuce from freezer. Using an ice cream scoop, hollow a 3-inch cavity from centre of each lettuce half. Spoon about 2 tbsp. well-chilled blue cheese dressing into cavity. Pack each cavity with 1/3-to-1/2 c. fresh shrimp. Pour 1/4 c. dressing over and around shrimp in  each lettuce half. Sprinkle with toasted, flaked almonds. Serves 2. Reserve remaining dressing in a small dish for serving the table. 

Note: To toast almonds, spread on cookie sheet at 350 deg. F. for 5 min., or turn frequently in hot frying pan, being careful they don’t over-brown or burn.

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