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 have a long history with kimchi, and two distinct memories come to mind when I think of it. The first memory is from when I was around nine years old. That is when kimchi became a regular part of my life due to my new Vietnamese stepmother.She had a lot of Korean friends and we all loved to eat at a local Korean restaurant. I immediately loved the stuff. It was crunchy and spicy and I ate it even though it smelled funny.
My mom would also buy bottles of kimchi at the supermarket. I’m not sure if she already ate it, or if I begged her to buy some. But if my kid begged me to buy bottled cabbage, I’d buy it too! I was around thirteen when my second distinct kimchi memory occurred.
It was Halloween, and my best friend and I wanted to make a “scary sounds” cassette recording (that’s what we used back in the olden-days). We had a long walkway up to the house which was under lit, and completely surrounded by lush tropical plants packed so tight, not a blade of grass would grow. The palm fronds overhead formed a dark tunnel up to the doorway, which was decorated in the appropriate Halloween assortment of cobwebs, paper witches and fabric ghosts.
That night, we placed a boom box in the open window, blasting out into the street our homemade recording of strange and spooky sounds. First there was the sound of witch-y teenage giggling, followed by some moaning. Then rattling chains, more giggling and finally…the gross sound of me chomping open-mouthed on kimchi into the microphone.
Now that I’m all grown up, I make my own kimchi every few months at home. It’s delicious to snack on, and despite the amount of red pepper, it’s really good for your digestion. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but I decided to try some daikon and carrot sticks instead. Fermented for a few days in the closet, the sticks come out perfectly crunchy, delicious and fun to eat.
Place the daikon, carrot and salt in a strainer in the sink. Toss the vegetables in the salt to coat. Let sit for 3-4 hours. Wash thoroughly to remove the salt and allow to dry.
Place the daikon, carrot, scallions, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and chili powder in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight lid, leaving a few inches of room at the top. You can let this ferment for 2-3 days in a closet or eat right away. If you allow it to ferment, turn the bottle upside-down a few times to distribute the moisture. Gas will build up as it ferments, so take care when opening.