Rock Shrimp, Avocado and Orange Salad

Ohmygod this salad is the BEST. Refreshing, bright, buttery, crunchy, sweet, peppery....

It's rare that I so blatantly aggrandize my creations, but you really do have to try this. Seriously...

First off, rock shrimp are amazing. I've always assumed they were smaller and inferior to the giant varieties. Not so. They taste a lot like lobster tail when broiled and soaked in butter, lemon and pepper. In this leaf-less salad, smooth, buttery, ripe avocado melds well with the shrimp. The juicy, acidic, orange cuts their richness, and toasted almonds add crunch. An orange honey mustard vinaigrette further marries the flavors, and a chiffonade of basil adds a fresh licorice pop.

Yeah. It's all that.

Rock Shrimp, Avocado and Orange Salad
(measurements are for 1 serving, increase accordingly)

For the shrimp:
1/4 lb wild rock shrimp, shelled & cleaned
1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T lemon juice
sea salt & a generous amount of black pepper

For the salad:
1 small, ripe, avocado cut into slices
1/2 Navel orange, sliced and peel removed
1 T sliced almonds, toasted
1 medium basil leaf, cut into chiffonade
sea salt & black pepper

For the dressing:
1 T orange juice (squeezed from the navel orange)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp honey
1 T walnut oil
*I liked closer to a 1:1 ratio of oil to orange juice here, but you may want to stick to the classic 3:1 ratio if you are making a larger portion.

1. Prep the base of the salad by toasting almonds and slicing the avocados and oranges. Layer them on individual plates.  Lightly salt and pepper the salads and reserve basil for garnish.

2. Toss shrimp with a dash of sea salt and pepper, lemon juice and melted butter. Place the shrimp in a single layer on a broiler pan or sheet pan lined with tinfoil. 

3. While waiting for the broiler to heat up, prepare the dressing by whisking together orange juice, mustard, honey and walnut oil. Adjust to taste. Drizzle a couple tablespoons over each salad plate.

4. Broil the shrimp about 4" from heat until opaque - which may take as little as 2 minutes in the bottom of a gas stove or 5-7 minutes in an electric oven. Remove promptly and top each salad with shrimp. 

5. Drizzle a bit more dressing over the salad and top with basil.


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