Chili-Vanilla Shrimp with Avocado Salsa

When I first began blogging, I was really excited because I had convinced myself, much in the same way that when younger I convinced myself that simply getting a keyboard for my birthday would enable me to play the instrument and achieve rock-stardom, that I would now become an absolute whiz with digital photography, because, hey, I had a camera and now routinely things to take pictures of. Easy as pie – actually, I think pie is easier.
I still have not mastered the art of food photography, and I still haven’t become a rock star. The keyboard has a bunch of dust on it, and although the camera is well-used sometimes I beseech you just to trust me on these things, because I know they’re so much better than I make them look. It's not the food's fault.

I made this over the weekend, when Rob was craving seafood and I had the urge to put vanilla salt (all credit and thanks to Jasmine at Confessions of a Cardomom Addict) in something other than baked goods. And I had avocadoes and tomatoes, and after a bunch of Googling I ended up making a mixture of things which worked wonderful together (the failures I don't let you read about!) and totally loved. I like the contrast of a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet in the shrimp with the rich avocado cut by the lime. The only change I'd make next time would be to use larger shrimp - I think they have better flavor to begin with.


12 oz peeled deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen
1 c white wine
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp vanilla salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
splash - about a tsp - lemon juice
1 tbsp chili powder
4 Tbsp lime juice
2-3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 tsp salt
small amount minced jalape
no to taste
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tsp cilantro
2 small-medium ripe tomatoes
2 medium-ripe avocadoes (it helps if they're still somewhat firm)

For the shrimp: in a large bowl, mix together the wine, oil, extract, s&p, garlic, lemon juice and chili powder. Add in the shrimp and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour but no more than six.
Make the dressing: In a measuring cup, mix the lime juice, oil, garlic, salt,
jalapeno, scallion and cilantro. Let sit at room temperature for at least half an hour to meld.
When ready to cook: Seed and dice the tomatoes and place in a medium bowl. Halve, pit, and dice the avocado and add to the bowl. Whisk the dressing to mix and pour over. Carefully, without smushing the avocado into a mass of green, toss the mixture together to coat. Sprinkle over a little additional lime juice to prevent browning.
Drain the shrimp from their marinade and cook in a very hot pan until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
Serves 2 really hungry people.


Blogger Brilynn said...

I love the sounds of this combination!

I keep saying I want a new digicam to help me take better pictures. I don't even know how to use all the features on my point and shoot hardly do anything camera, although a new camera would be capable of taking better pictures, it wouldn't mean that I would know how to make it do so. Sometimes I hope that I'll just absorb information through osmosis or something, without actually putting any effort into it.
I can dream...

11:20 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

where do you get vanilla salt from? can you make your own?

8:41 AM  
Blogger emily said...

Brilynn - new camera or not, I'm always impressed by your blogging.

Mindy - I made my own going from the guidelines posted by Jasmine at Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. She's got a great list of make-your-own vanilla _______ here: http://cardamomaddict.blogspot.com/2006/02/vanillafication-of-my-kitchen.html
I haven't gotten around to vanilla oil or vinegar yet, though I want to try both, but I've definitely taken to the vanilla salt - I ground the sea salt fine with half a vanilla bean and left the other half split. As she suggests, I use it in my baking now, but it worked very nicely with the shrimp. I also sprinkled some of the vanilla salt on sweet potatoes before roasting them and they came out extra-good.

9:52 PM  

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