Crisp salad greens and grilled shrimp are the basis for my new grilled shrimp salad with fresh raspberries, creamy avocado and heart of palm. You can even grill the shrimp ahead, chill and use for lunch the next day, which is how this recipe came to be. It’s good to have leftovers to work with.
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Raspberry and Avocado
A few weeks ago I ended up with extra grilled shrimp. Not a bad thing to have extra of. When lunch rolled around the next day, I knew I needed to use the shrimp or they would go to waste. Into a bowl of crisp arugula greens went the chilled shrimp, some fresh raspberries (because I am a raspberry fanatic), avocado, and some heart of palm. Basically what I had in the fridge to use up. To my delight, I discovered what has become one of our favorites entree salads of late. The colors and flavors all work together beautifully.
Buying and Cleaning Shrimp
For raw shrimp, I use the 16-20 size. That means you will get between 16-20 pieces per pound. Larger (U-15) or smaller (21-25) will work as well. If you buy them already peeled and deveined (cleaned) it will save a few minutes of prep time. Peeling and cleaning them yourself is easy and a little cheaper.
Peel off the shells and legs, then use a paring knife to slice a shallow slit in the curved side. The slit will expose any debris that needs to be rinsed out with cold water. After rinsing, set the shrimp aside on paper towels to dry.
Make the vinaigrette recipe. Use half to marinate the shrimp and the other half to dress the salad. The shrimp will take just minutes on a hot grill, grill pan or even under the broiler as they cook quickly.
What is Hearts of Palm?
While I was shooting this post, someone asked, what is the white stuff in the salad? The white stuff is hearts of palm. Hearts of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core of the cabbage or huasai palm tree which grows in tropical climates. The hearts are slender and ivory in color, sort of like white asparagus.
Heart of palm is tender and tasty, especially in salads. It tastes a little like artichokes. Wikipedia says it can also be called palm heart, chonta, palmito, palm cabbage, swamp cabbage, or burglar’s thigh (I have no idea).
While it might sound strange, hearts of palm is delicious. Give it a try. Find it in cans near artichoke hearts and condiments in your grocery store. It comes packaged in a liquid. Once opened, store any unused portion in an airtight container in its liquid for up to a week.
Raspberry Vinegar: Marinade and Dressing
By doubling the vinaigrette there is enough to use for both marinating the shrimp and dressing the salad. I used raspberry vinegar and avocado oil, but you could use olive oil. If you’ve never used raspberry vinegar, treat yourself to a bottle and enjoy. It’s one of the many flavored vinegars that are a staple in my pantry. You can find it in most grocery stores and online.
One brand I’ve used that is widely available is Kozlowski Farms. Another good one is the Balsamic Raspberry from Napa Valley Naturals. Their organic olive oil is good too. You’ll find other brands these days as raspberry vinegar is very popular.
My favorite raspberry vinegar is from a company called Vom Fass. Made in Germany, their fruit vinegars are like nothing else I’ve ever tried. I’ll warn you, some of them are pricey. Think like buying fine wine or perfume. Once you taste them you will be as hooked as I am.
They make a Star Raspberry and a Raspberry Balsamic. The Star Raspberry you can drink, taste it right off a spoon. Now you can’t do that with many vinegars! If fact it’s so good you can drizzle it over ice cream or yogurt, and even use it in sparkling water to give it a lovely flavor. It’s that good. Find a store near you to visit or to ship from.
Vinegar alternative – If you can’t get raspberry, look for the Black Cherry Balsamic from Lucini, another terrific flavor. Their olive oils are wonderful too.
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Raspberry and Avocado
Marinade and Dressing (makes 1 cup total)
- 1/2 cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar see note below on vinegar
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 2 containers fresh raspberries 12 ounces
- 1 can hearts of palm drained
- 6-8 ounces dark salad greens of choice I used baby arugula
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley optional
- If shrimp are not already cleaned, peel and devein them, rinse gently under cold water and set aside on paper towels to dry.
- Make the marinade. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 a cup of the vinaigrette into a small bowl to use for dressing the salad.
Add the cleaned shrimp and toss to coat. Allow them to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. While shrimp are marinating, prepare the grill, grill pan or broiler. Quarter the avocado, slice the hearts of palm crosswise. Place salad greens in four bowls.
- Cook the shrimp, turning once, just until they are pink, about 2 minutes per side. Add the shrimp to the salad bowl along with the berries, avocado quarter, and hearts of palm. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley if desired. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette per person and serve.
Depending on the natural sweetness of your vinegar you may need to add a little more oil. Taste it and adjust for your preference. The vinegar I use works well in a 1:1 ratio. The traditional ratio for a vinaigrette is 3:1, oil to vinegar.
For shrimp, I use the 16-20 size. If you can't get them smaller shrimp work just fine and are more budget friendly. Figure about 12-16 ounces to serve 4.