Spring is here, and even though I’m in South Florida, I feel the change. Not so much in the temperature (we only turned on the heat for a few days this winter), but from what I see around me in the tropical flowers and fruits. Our mango and starfruit trees are full of miniature-sized versions of fruit that will ripen in the summer. The air is warm, but not unbearably humid like South Florida summers can be. The produce isles at the grocery store are stocked with spring favorites: asparagus, radishes and Brussels sprouts.
It’s funny how infectious the excitement for spring can be. I see it in my Facebook feed; all of the northern folks clamoring for some sunny rays after yet another snowstorm. In tribute to spring, I created this asparagus salad with shrimp and grapefruit with citrus vinaigrette. It’s fresh and light, with the perfect balance of subtle sweetness, acid and crunch.
I’m not sure what I love more about this salad. Is it the taste or the beautiful mix of colors on the plate? Pink grapefruit, red-rimmed radishes, purple baby lettuce, bright green asparagus and pink Key West shrimp vie for attention both in appearance and texture. Enjoy it with a cold glass of homebrewed iced tea for the perfect lunch to celebrate spring with friends or loved ones.
I have to give a special mention to the shrimp I used in this recipe. They hail from my hometown, Key West. It’s hard to find Key West pink shrimp—even in Miami. These wild shrimp are sweet and tender and usually more abundant in winter months. If you see them in the store or on a restaurant menu, be sure to try them out.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for asparagus salad with shrimp and grapefruit as much as we did! Happy spring from Love and Duck Fat!
More refreshing salads:
Yield: 2 servings
Note: recipe calls for 6 shrimp per serving (photo shows 3).
Place the shrimp on a paper towel to dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over high heat, and add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. When the butter foams; add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the shrimp on one side for 1-2 minutes, and then flip to the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until they begin to curl and the centers become opaque. Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside to cool.
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Set aside a bowl of ice water. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and immediately plunge into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Carefully remove the outer skin from the grapefruit with a knife. Cut out the grapefruit segments by cutting in-between the membranes. Once the segments are removed, set them aside. Squeeze the juice from the outer skin and the remaining membrane into a bowl. You should have about 4 tablespoons of grapefruit juice.
Add about ½ teaspoon of salt and fresh pepper to the grapefruit juice. Whisk in remaining olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
Arrange the salad mix, radishes, sliced onion, grapefruit segments and asparagus on a plate. Top with the shrimp. Spoon the citrus vinaigrette on top.
I saw this recipe for asparagus wrapped with prosciutto on Pinterest and just had to try it out. The bright green asparagus spears wrapped in a cocoon of salty prosciutto looked so delicious, and easy to boot.
I’m always on the hunt for easy appetizer recipes that are elegant, fresh and delicious and this one fit the bill. My main concern was that prosciutto would fall off, but there was no need to worry. Once cooked, the asparagus and salty ham became one.
We had a few unexpected guests over and I took a few minutes to wrap these up (the most time-consuming part). A blast in the oven and I presented everyone with a cheese plate, a bowl of nuts, some fruit and these lovelies. Everyone’s eyes opened wide when they saw my steaming plate of yummy-ness. Voila! I’m such a fancy gal all of the sudden. I didn’t bat an eye and went about my business as usual. Of course, my husband made some crack about how “we always eat like this” and everyone chowed down.
The asparagus was gone in mere minutes.
This recipe is officially part of my appetizer–or since I’m a fancy gal–my hor d’oeuvre repertoire. I hope it becomes part of yours!
Heat the oven to broil, with a rack 6 inches below the heating element.
Place the asparagus on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands. Remove them to a plate.
Starting just below the head of the asparagus, wrap one of the prosciutto slices, spiraling it around the asparagus towards the bottom of the stem. Place on the baking sheet. Continue with all of the asparagus until you cover them all. Try not to crowd them on the baking sheet.
Broil for 3-5 minutes, until crisp and slightly browned. Flip them over with tongs and broil for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper before serving.
Quiche-making a few times a month is one of my favorite ways to save time in the kitchen (I spend way too much time cooking). Not only I end up with several servings of breakfast (and lunch), quiche has a way of making a hectic day somehow more refined. It’s easy to keep ingredients on hand to make a good quiche, like this one with asparagus and bacon. A fresh vegetable is usually the star, with eggs, a good cheese and frozen pie crusts.
While I firmly believe in cooking from scratch, cooking is mostly a chore, which is why I use store-bought pie crusts. Making a crust from scratch would significantly reduce any time-saving I may accomplish, and I’m not sure the self-satisfaction of cooking from scratch (in the case of a pie crust) is worth the end result.
In this case, I found a new brand of premade pie crust in my grocery freezer section. It was an organic spelt pie crust. I have no idea what spelt is, but the organic label sold me, being that my only other options were Pillsbury (my least favorite brand) and a beaten-up Marie Callender (my usual).
help roughing up the edge of the crust to make it look hand-made. It’s kind of a rustic look, due to the fact that I’m completely incapable of making uniform edges on pies.
Once cooked, the crust was surprisingly good—not grainy or “healthfoody” at all. It worked well with the asparagus and bacon. I also tried a new quiche recipe, substituting a good amount of Greek yogurt for the milk and cream. It turns out I prefer the milk and cream, but I wrote the yogurt option into the recipe in case someone wants to give it a try.
If you are quiche-making, I recommend baking two. Double this recipe or make another flavor, like this mushroom and Gruyere quiche. You can freeze one for later. Thaw it out and reheat in the oven for best results.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C
Chop the bacon and cook in a skillet on medium heat until crispy. Remove to a paper towel, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan.
Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, reserving 8-10 spears to decorate the top. Add the chopped pieces to the hot skillet and cook for 5 minutes, until they are deep green in color, but still firm. Remove from the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half (or yogurt + milk), salt and pepper.
Assemble the quiche: Add half of the cheese to the bottom of the crust, bacon and chopped asparagus. Pour in the egg mixture. Top with cheese, and then arrange asparagus spears on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the center no longer jiggles. Cool before serving.