Avocado’s creaminess makes an excellent substitute for cheese and is nicely balanced by the tangy lemon dressing and crunch of the toasted pine nuts. If you’re not a fan of pine nuts, pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) can easily be substituted (it happens). While I chose to season the shrimp with cayenne pepper and dried oregano, you may substitute a pre-made Cajun or other type of blend.
The one thing—OK, two things—that could go wrong with this dish are either oversalting or overcooking the shrimp. The acidity of the lime juice comes in handy if you end up oversalting, and even if you don’t, it’s a nice, fresh way to finish the shrimp. Overcooking the shrimp is a difficult situation to rectify because there is little that can be done to halt the process. The majority of shrimp purchased in supermarkets or seafood markets are small and cook in 3-4 minutes. If you’re truly concerned, cut into one and check to see if it has turned pink and is no longer translucent. This will assist you in avoiding the rubbery end, which is unpleasant for everyone.
Adding hearts of palm or cilantro to this salad could be interesting additions. Another excellent option is to incorporate freshly grated garlic into the dressing.
- 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 6 large peeled and deveined shrimp
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, sliced
- 6 to 8 picked basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice from about 1 lime
- Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, cayenne pepper, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mixing bowl. Coat the shrimp with the mixture. Allow 10 minutes.
- Lemon juice and 4 tablespoons olive oil should be whisked together. Place aside.
- In a 10-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over high heat until shimmering. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until just cooked through. Toss with lime juice in a small bowl.
- Combine the arugula, shallot, pine nuts, avocado, tomatoes, and basil in a large serving bowl. Toss in dressing, season with salt and pepper, and serve. Serve immediately with shrimp on top.