Summer equals color and bright flavors so this salad sort of composed itself one day. Taking small but sweet Key West shrimp that I poached in ouzo with orange and spices made the perfect starting point for this composed salad. Sweet cherry tomatoes and corn balanced with scallions and peppery arugula fill out the salad which is topped with (of course) salty Greek feta cheese. This salad is fun, it's so colorful, it's incredibly flavorful, and easy. Just perfect for hot summer nights. Enjoy it.
Ouzo Poached Shrimp with Tomatoes and Corn Salad
1 cup key west shrimp (or other shrimp, shells and tails removed)
1/4 cup ouzo
1 small orange, quartered
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
1 ear of corn -- husked and kernals cut off from ear
4 cups arugula
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced thinly
mint lemon vinaigrette (recipe below)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
feta cheese (optional)
First, make the poached shrimp.
Take a saucepan and fill it about 1/2 way with cold water. Add the ouzo, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf. Take the orange quarters and squeeze the juice into the water, then drop the quarters whole in as well. Add a little salt to taste (I do about 1/2 tsp). This is your poaching liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat down so it's barely simmering. Cover with lid and let simmer for about 10 minutes so flavors can infuse. Turn off heat and add the shrimp in all at once. Let shrimp stay in poaching liquid until they turn opaque in color and are just firm to the touch -- around a minute, maybe minute and half (time will depend on how large your shrimp are). Remove with slotted spoon (as seen above) and let stand to cool. Discard poaching liquid.
While the poaching liquid infuses, you can make the corn. Heat a little olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the corn kernels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes -- the corn will turn bright yellow. Let stand to cool.
To assemble the salad, simple place the arugula in a large mixing bowl. Add the scallions, corn, tomatoes, and shrimp. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top with feta cheese and serve immediately.
Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
This is a super versatile vinaigrette with a lovely bright flavor. The jalapeno gives it a nice kick that is unexpected but most loved. It compliments especially arugula, spinach, and watercress for greens and goes with most vegetables as well. It's particularly nice paired with the salty feta cheese, but you can use any goat cheese you like really (although feta really is the best for this!)
1 lemon (or lime) -- juiced
1/2 jalapeno, very finely chopped (keep the seeds for spicy; get rid of them for more mild version)
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
good quality olive oil
Combine the juice, jalapeno and mint leaves in a bowl (see above). Next, vigorously whisk in the oil until combined and thickened. Immediately pour over the salad and toss to combine.