Shrimp Salsa or Salad

By Ann Fulton

Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.
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Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.

 

I first made this recipe when seeking an appetizer that felt fresh and exciting. Served as a salsa, it felt novel and new and disappeared quickly.

An immediate fan, my husband commented that he would eat the shrimp and veggie-studded salsa as a light entree. We have enjoyed it as a salad many times since, and in the process I’ve discovered its versatility, bolstering with leftover corn on the cob for example. 

Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.

When enjoyed as an entree, the shrimp salad reminds me of the sort of meal my mom would serve on hot summer nights when I was young. We didn’t have central air conditioning, and just the thought of turning on the oven or stove was enough to make us all sweat.

She often served a trio of cold salads, like chicken, tuna, or egg salad, potato or macaroni salad, and a Pennsylvania Dutch classic–ham salad. Sometimes she stuffed one of the salads into a hollowed out, vine-ripened tomato, which we thought was very clever.

These days, I tend to let a single salad take the starring role on the plate and add a green vegetable, wedges of hard-boiled egg, and perhaps a slice of quick bread or cornbread. Sweet potato fries or grilled polenta have been recent favorites, and my husband would choose corn on the cob whenever available. 

That said, a simple dinner roll and crisp cucumber slices will absolutely satisfy. As I type, I’m having visions of my grandmother’s jelly bread. A habit that developed during the Great Depression, she would serve plain sandwich bread with butter and her homemade jam to inexpensively bolster nearly every meal.

She didn’t even toast the bread–just stacked it on a plate and placed it on the table–and my siblings and I thought it was such a treat. My early takeaway? Delicious and satisfying need not be complicated. 

So, whether you serve this flavorful shrimp as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as an entrée with a side of choice (or my grandmother’s jelly bread!), you may, like me, find yourself returning to the easy recipe again and again.

Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.

Once the main ingredients are combined, I like to refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour – longer is fine. That way, the flavors meld and improve. For best color, I do stir in the avocado just before serving.

Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.

 Easy to make and delicious to eat. Bring this shrimp recipe to a party or potluck and it’s sure to garner rave reviews. 

Serve this colorful salad as a light yet filling entree or scoop it up with tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Either way, the pop of flavor and ease of preparation is bound to make it a keeper.

Have leftovers? Though the avocado won’t be as vibrantly green after an overnight rest, the flavor will be outstanding. By all means enjoy any leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Delightful with a side of corn, I’ve also stirred corn into the salad – or salsa!

Beer Boiled Peel & Eat Shrimp bring the fun factor to dinner, and if you keep a bag of shrimp in your freezer, you can have this festive meal anytime--in about five minutes!

Plain cooked shrimp works well for this recipe, but for an extra flavor bump and practicality, I like to make Beer Boiled Peel & East Shrimp one night and use leftovers for the salad the next.

A few more things:

  • When serving as an appetizer, I place a spoon in the bowl so guests can spoon some of the salsa onto the chip. It makes it easier to get a little of everything and eliminates the occasional broken chip into the bowl.
  • Try on a tostada. In this case, instead of stirring the avocado into the shrimp, mash it and spread a layer over the tostada–this will help anchor the loose ingredients–and then scoop the shrimp mixture over top.
  • The amount of hot pepper used is small, but it provides a hint of flavor with very modest spice throughout. For no spice, you could remove the veins and seeds. For more spice, you may increase to taste. No hot pepper? Add ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or a squirt of hot sauce.
  • See more ways to vary the recipe in the recipe notes. 

Shrimp Salsa or Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour rest
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: 8 appetizer or 2 generous or 4 smaller entree servings 
A happy merger of fresh salsa, guacamole, and shrimp ceviche, this recipe can be served with chips for scooping or as the star of a light meal. Bring it to a party or potluck and it’s sure to garner rave reviews.
Ingredients
  • ½ pound cooked shrimp (from 12 ounces in shell or about 18-20 extra large)
  • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, diced* (1 lightly rounded cup)
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño or serrano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (plus more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Optional for serving: lime wedges, tortilla chips, lettuce or a hollowed out tomato for plating as a salad
Instructions

Chop the shrimp into small pieces. (I chop each extra-large shrimp into four to five pieces.)

In a large glass, ceramic, or other non-reactive bowl stir together the shrimp, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, hot pepper, lime juice, and salt. Cover and refrigerate to allow the flavors combine, at least 1 hour. Longer is fine.

When ready to serve (or up to 30 minutes ahead of serving), fold in the avocado and add an extra squeeze of lime juice or pinch of salt to taste. Serve cold as a salsa with tortilla chips for scooping, as an appetizer salad, or as an entrée with sides of choice.

Notes

A few more ways to vary the recipe:
• I’ve added the kernels from an ear of leftover corn on the cob (cooked) to the salad, and it is delicious.
• For the creamy richness it provides, I love the addition of avocado. If you don’t care for it or have one on hand, however, you may omit it. A scant cup of diced English cucumber (or seeded regular) or corn (or a mix) could be used in its place. I haven’t tried, but a similar amount of black or cannellini beans would likely be nice.
• For a little extra flavor, you may add 1 clove of minced garlic to the salsa/salad.
• When serving as a salad, try crumbling a few tortilla chips over the plated servings for an element of crunch. Or serve a few alongside.
• For a fun serving option, scoop the salad into hollowed-out, vine-ripened tomatoes.

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