February 13th was Fat Tuesday and wife Jan asked for Louisiana food for dinner. She sent me several URLs for “Louisiana salads.” Some had ingredients that were very un-Louisianan. Others were very starchy—since I had decided on red beans and rice as my main dish, I wanted something a bit lighter.
Looking on-line starchy salads seemed to be a recurrent theme of “Louisiana salads.” I found black eyed pea salad, bean salad, rice salad, and potato salad. I finally found a lighter salad that I thought I could work with.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and shrimp with a Creole spice vinaigrette was a start. The minimalist recipe I was basing this salad on called for endive, but this has several possible options. While there is are leafy endives, I decided to use Belgian endive. Jan asked that I sauté them to make the endive less bitter—all endive is a bit bitter, but a little heat takes the edge off.
Karl’s Cajun Shrimp Salad
1 Tbs. neutral oil
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
½ tsp. Cajun spice blend
Pinch yellow mustard
Pinch Kosher salt
5 medium shrimp per person, peeled and deveined
½ -1 tsp. Cajun spice blend
2-3 Belgium endive
1 Tbs. neutral oil
1 large beefsteak tomato
1 cucumber (I used a Persian)
1. Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake it well.
Tip: Let the vinaigrette meld for 15-20 minutes.
2. Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle the spice all over.
Tip: Set the shrimp aside to marinate for a few minutes.
3. Cut the endive—lengthwise—into quarters or sixths.
Note: The base of the endive will keep the leaves together in one piece.
4. Heat the oil in a small skillet and sear the endive pieces on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
5. Set the endive on a plate to cool to room temperature.
6. Without cleaning the skillet, sear the shrimp on both sides until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
7. Set the shrimp on the plate with the endive to cool.
8. Cut the tomato and cucumber into bite sized pieces.
Note: I have diverticula, so I de-seed the tomato. You may choose not to.
9. Put the vegetables in a bowl and pour the dressing over them.
10. Toss to coat the vegetables well.
11. Arrange the pieces of endive into individual salad bowl.
12. Spoon the tomato and cucumber over the endive.
Tip: Keep any excess dressing in the bowl, at this time.
13. Arrange the shrimp over the salad.
14. Spoon the remaining dressing evenly over the salads.
15. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.