Vanilla poached shrimp salad

By Camille Moore
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Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay

Sometimes it can be tricky to get that perfect level of doneness when it comes to cooking shrimp. That’s why poaching is a great technique to keep in your back pocket – it allows you to infuse tons of flavour, without compromising the tenderness of the seafood. And we’re all familiar with flavours like garlic, lemon, curry, and tomatoes that go well with shrimp, but I bet you’d never thought of using vanilla… It makes perfect sense to me though because shrimp have a natural sweetness to them which is complimented beautifully by the flavour of real vanilla beans. Vanilla is, after all, a spice. No, the vanilla doesn’t add sugary-ness to the shrimp, but rather nice notes of authentic vanilla bean flavour which is as delicious as it is unexpected.

My vanilla poached shrimp salad is an elegant dish for a light lunch, or served in beautiful, individual glass dishes for a cocktail party. It has a great balance of flavours and textures thanks to the addition of fresh mango, avocado and radish.

SERVES
8
 TO
10
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved, divided
  • 1 orange, halved, divided
  • 400 grams shrimp, raw, peeled
  • 1 avocado, diced small and dressed in juice from remaining lemon half
  • 1 mango (ripe, but firm enough to hold the dice), diced small
  • 1/2 cup radish, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, preferably flaked, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, finely shredded, for serving
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers, to garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. To a medium-sized stock pot add water, kosher salt, vanilla bean, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and shallot. Squeeze half of each the lemon and the orange into the liquid, then add them to the pot as well. Bring to a boil (over high heat), reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Add whole, thawed shrimp to the liquid, cover pot, and remove from heat. After about three minutes shrimp will be pink and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a dish or tray to cool completely. Discard poaching liquid.
  3. Chop cooled shrimp into large dice and add to a large bowl with prepared avocado, mango, radish, olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently toss to incorporate. Check seasoning and add juice from avocado bowl and remaining orange half, if desired. Place a bed of finely shredded romaine onto a platter or add to the base of individual serving glasses. Spoon shrimp salad over top and serve. (Can be refrigerated an hour or two before serving). Garnish with toasted almond slivers, if using.

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