Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Buffalo Shrimp Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

I love a big, hearty and filling salad.  I also love buffalo sauce on anything and everything.  This recipe combines a lot of my favorite things.  The colors are really vibrant and beautiful, which to me, is always a huge plus.  This salad literally has every color of the rainbow.  You eat with your eyes before your mouth!  I have always heard the more colorful your plate, the better it is for you.  This one salad has everything you need all on one plate.  Packed with protein and fresh vegetables, this salad won't let you down!

Below is everything I used.  Feel free to chop the vegetables any way you'd like!

Big bag of salad mix (iceberg, carrots and red cabbage)
1 lb. Peeled and deveined shrimp

Red onion, thinly sliced
Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Pepperoncini, left whole
Scallion, thinly sliced
Blue cheese, crumbled
Bacon, crumbled

I love using the bags of salad mix.  I know it's a little more expensive, but I like that it has everything you need in one bag.  I chose one with lettuce, carrots and red cabbage.

Dump the bag (or as much as you want) into a big bowl.  Pour over the Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette and toss.  Use as much dressing as you'd like.  I like to keep my salads lightly dressed but have some dressing in a bowl on the side in case I want more.  It's better to under dress than over dress.

Refrigerate the tossed lettuce until it's nice and chilled.

In the meantime, prepare all your veggies, bacon, eggs, and cheese.  I like to put everything on a big plate and assemble the salad at the end right when it's time to eat.

I've got to be honest and say I definitely accidentally let my eggs overcook because I was too busy taking pictures of these two snuggle monsters and lost track of time.  Whoops!


Prepare the bacon however you'd like.  You can fry it in a pan, or bake it in the oven.  I'm usually a fan of baking it in the oven because it keeps it from shriveling up.  For this salad, I decided to dice it up and cook it in a pan instead, because I'm crumbling it anyway.  All I did was cut it into fourth of an inch pieces, put it in a cold saute pan, turn the heat to low and when the fat starts to render, turn up the heat a little more.  When the fat cooks away and the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it and drain on a paper towel.  Never put bacon into a hot pan.  The fat will just burn.  Starting it out in a cold pan and slowly letting it get hot will help the fat melt rather than burn.  Same goes for the oven.  Put it in the oven when it's off then set it to 400 degrees.

When it's almost time to eat, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  I'm using the same pan that I cooked the bacon in.  Just discard the bacon fat.

Season the shrimp with salt.

Coat the bottom of the preheated pan with extra virgin olive oil.  When the oil is hot, drop in the shrimp in a single layer.  Cook until the tails are pink then flip them over and cook for a few minutes longer.  Shrimp don't take a long time to cook at all.  Poke it, and when it's firm it's done. 

Turn off the heat and pour in some buffalo sauce.  Toss everything around and generously coat the shrimp in the sauce.  

Grab a plate or big bowl.  Fill it up with some of the lettuce mixture.  Top it off with as much of the toppings you'd like.  Place some of the buffalo shrimp on top and sprinkle with a little extra blue cheese.

Now isn't that a beautiful salad!?

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