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The Salad Side

Fresh, crisp, zesty, sweet, savory and salty, how do you make your salad?   My friends are always asking me how I make such interesting salads, my answer, I really don't know!  Well I guess that it's not entirely true since I do know a thing or two about a vinaigrette but in all reality I make them up as I go.  For starters, think of what you like in your salads; crunchy, salty, sweet, tart, soft...  Or when in doubt, romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, garlic croutons and  creamy Caesar dressing, right? Now that I call boring!  

I got home late one night, opened the fridge and saw romaine lettuce, bacon and shrimp.  First thoughts - wash lettuce, cook bacon, use bacon grease to cook shrimps, chop garlic, oooooh geeez, I hope I have green onions.  Yup, that about sums up how my mind thinks when I see food. What can I do to it to make it better/interesting? The dressing; Dijon vinaigrette with bacon drippings... Heaven!

Was one of the best salads I've had in a long time...

South Beach has to be my favorite place to sit and people watch while enjoying a fresh crisp salad.  My favorite spot; Big Pink.  Oh Big Pink how I love your frozen limeade along side your Spicy Vietnamese skirt steak salad topped with your delightful Sriracha vinaigrette.  I dream about this at least once a week, if not more!  
Big Pink is where I fell in love with using sriracha in a vinaigrette.  Adding this miracle hot sauce to a basic vinaigrette adds this "Je ne sais quoi" to any salad, this I guarantee.  

Don't forget the "Bucket of homemade chips and dips" truly divine!

So how to make a salad that will keep you craving more?  Make it your own.  Use fresh, ripe, crisp ingredients that excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more!  Don't be shy to be creative; try new things that's my motto.  

Garlic Bacon Shrimp Salad:
Serving size 2

1 head of crisp romaine lettuce
6 jumbo raw shrimps cleaned and de-veined
6 slices of thick cut smoked bacon
3 shallots (green onions) finely chopped
1 cloves garlic chopped
1 crisp cucumber sliced thick
Cherry tomatoes cut in half

fresh ground black pepper
coarse kosher salt (or any salt)
1 lemon juiced
1 clove of garlic chopped
onion and garlic powder about a teaspoon each
splash of Sriracha (just a splash, do not over power the bacon flavor)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot (green onion) chopped
about 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp real mayonnaise (no Miracle whip here!!!)
dripping from bacon (bacon grease, yummmm)

Wash and dry the lettuce well, nothing worse than wet lettuce in a salad.  Chop it into your ideal size pieces.  Wash then slice cucumbers on a bias, thick cut always adds great crunch to a salad.    Plate the lettuce and cucumber and set aside. 
Start cooking the bacon, extra crispy for me.  Once bacon is cooked, drain on paper towel and set aside.  Pour bacon grease into a dish for now, leaving only about half a tablespoon in the skillet.  Add 1 clove of chopped garlic, 3 of the chopped greens onions and saute for about a minute.   Add 6 shrimp and cook till shrimps are pink, not translucent.  Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.  

Bacon Vinaigrette
In a bowl, combine 1 tsp bacon grease, half a lemon juiced, garlic, salt, pepper, Sriracha, garlic and onion powder.  Mix well.  Add Dijon and mayo, continue to mix well.  While mixing the dressing, slowly add the olive oil.  Once you adjust the dressing to your taste, add green onions.

Assemble the salad as you wish and top with a drizzle of the vinaigrette.  Do not over dress the salad; under-dressing is key as you can always add more!


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