Tarragon Shrimp Over Herb Salad with Lemon-Fennel Vinaigrette

Haven't you had enough comfort food for a while? Remember salad?
I always say that there's no such thing as a New Year's resolution. I think it's more of a return to the end of some sort of cycle we get stuck in. Gain weight, lose weight. Eat more, eat less. Dine out too much, eat at home more. Spend more, spend less. Abundance and lack make the world go 'round.

After a month or more of eating rich, going out and being social, naturally I feel like taking it easy. For a little while. At least until the Super Bowl - which is a whole other cycle of hot-wings, beer, fatness, yoga, skinniness, repeat.

In the spirit of beginning anew the cycle of healthy eating and self-repair, I will try to share with you some lighter and healthier foods this month. I know I'm not the only one who had a few too many Filet Mignons last month, and probably about 40 chocolates and 20 glasses of wine too many also - but who's counting? And too many for what? We can recover from this, together, I promise you.

This past weekend I completed my Filet Mignon cycle and reset to a salad cycle. I was not alone.

View from Mont Tremblant
I was up in Mont Tremblant skiing and hanging out with a bunch of friends for New Year's Eve weekend. It started with an open-faced Croque Monsieur sandwich topped by a cheese-blanket, accompanied by fries and a cheese-ensconced plate of nachos and a beer. In general, it seems the French Canadians really enjoy a heavy helping of fatso cheese. Kind of explains why I could never give up cheese, seeing as I'm about a quarter F-C myself. Either way, after a couple more rich meals I was feeling kind of blech. What a gluttonous month.

So much beer & chips! Yay vacation!
After a few ski runs on Saturday, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised to find rather un-greasy comida delicioso. I ordered a salad - greens with shrimp, pecans, pears and a fig-balsamic dressing. It just sounded so refreshing. And it was - I forgot about salad!

Sunday night, the remaining six of us decided unanimously that we'd like a big, fresh, green salad at dinner. Some pasta too, but definitely feeling the salad. My friend picked up some greens, a mustard dressing, avocado, grapefruit and cashews. So great. We hardly touched the pasta.

So here I am at the beginning of the salad cycle, right on time for new year's resolutions. But it's not a resolution so much as I just feel like eating lighter. I feel in my bones that I miss fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables. So tonight I made this yummy salad with these awesome giant Wild Patagonian Red Shrimp from Fresh Direct. A little tarragon lends freshness. Fennel and baby carrots give the salad some crunch. It's 17F degrees outside and summer in my kitchen.

Tarragon Shrimp Over Herb Salad with Lemon-Fennel Vinaigrette
 approx. 2 large servings

2 T butter
1 lb large shrimp (10-15 ct), peeled and deveined
Salt & Pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
2 T fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

4 C herb salad (or mixed greens), rinsed and dried
1/2 C baby carrots, halved
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced (about 1/2 C)

Lemon-Fennel Vinaigrette
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 T fennel fronds, (small leafy parts without the stems) chopped 

*Prep shrimp and set aside in a bowl, ready to cook. Be sure to sanitize the counter-top (from any stray shrimp juices) and wash your hands well. Avoid cross-contamination.

Wild Patagonian Red Shrimp
1. Prepare the salad dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and mustard. Stir in fennel fronds.

2. Slice carrots and fennel. Add fennel slices to the dressing to marinate at least 15 minutes.

3. Season the raw shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it froths and begins to brown (in about 1 minute) add the shrimp. Cook about 2 minutes and add the garlic. Cook 2-3 more minutes until shrimp are curled and opaque.

4. Remove the shrimp from heat and mix in a dash of lemon juice and the fresh tarragon.

5. Arrange the greens, and carrots on plates. Top with marinated fennel and a drizzle of dressing. Add a few shrimp on top and garnish with fresh tarragon.


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