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Margarita Shrimp Salad

A great salad for springtime, when lots of good shrimp are around. This recipe is adapted from one from the fantastically beautiful Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where an annual food writer’s conference takes place. The dressing uses all the ingredients for a margarita, plus the standard salad-dressing items. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s not really that bad, and the the salad is terrific.

  • 24 large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
  • Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • Margarita Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 sprigs cilantro, leaves only, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Cilantro cream:
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Salad:
  • 2 heads romaine, torn in bite size pieces
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup cooked, firm black beans
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1 tsp. chili powder4 lime wedges, for garnish

1. Combine the shrimp with the marinade ingredients in a food-storage bag. Chill for an hour or so.

2. Make the dressing. Combine the garlic, jalapeno, tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and cumin in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a light boil and reduce by about a third. Pour the pan contents into a bowl, and cool. Whisk in the olive oil, then add the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Make the jalapeno cream sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Season to taste. Refrigerate.

4. Now make the salad. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, pepper, avocado and black beans.

5. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and all marinade ingredients. Cook the shrimp until fully cooked–two or three minutes.

6. Toss the salad with the margarita dressing. Drizzle four chilled plates with cilantro cream. Place salad in center of plates and sprinkle with tortilla chips. Arrange six shrimp on each plate, garnish with lime wedge and a sprinkle of chili powder, and serve immediately.

Serves four.

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