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Simply Deliteful: Warm Shrimp & Corn Salad with Polenta Croutons

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We don't generally crave salads in the fall, but Alice Bolen, author of "Simply De-Lite-Ful," stopped by to share a recipe she thinks we'll really love.

Salad Greens With Warm Shrimp,Corn, and Polenta Croutons

  • *8 cups torn greens (I like to mix arugula, romaine, and spring mix) See hints for preparation of greens at bottom of recipes.
  • 1 1/4 lbs. medium Shrimp—raw, shelled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • *2 cups corn kernals (See note at bottom of recipe)
  • 1-2 cups chunked avocado
  • 1 lb polenta croutons—recipe follows
  • Corn can be grilled on cob(3 cobs of corn) till hot through and golden, and then cut away from the cob.

Place washed and dried greens in a large bowl and refrigerate, covered till ready to assemble salad.

Place shrimp in a large, sprayed skillet with the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat till they are no longer translucent. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To assemble: toss greens, tomatoes, corn and avocado lightly with1/2 cup of dressing. If plating, divide between individual plates; then top with equally divided croutons and shrimp. If serving family style, arrange the shrimp and croutons attractively on top of green mixture. Provide extra dressing for those who like a heavier application of dressing.


Polenta Croutons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet wit parchment or foil.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. precooked polenta (Can be purchased in most grocery stores in a plastic wrapped tube. If you choose to make it yourself, pour the hot polenta into a prepared pan to a 3/4 inch thickness. Cover surface with plastic wrap to avoid forming a “skin.” Cool and refrigerate till ready to make the croutons.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic POWDER
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

If using store bought polenta, slice in 1 to 3/4 inch slices; then cut slices into cubes as evenly as possible. If using home made polenta, cut into 3/4 inch cubes.

Place cubes into a large bowl. Sprinkle cubes with salt, pepper and garlic powder and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently with hands to coat evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan and gently toss again to coat evenly. Place cubes on prepared pan, being careful that they don’t touch. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning once after about 15 minutes. Bake till lightly golden and a little crisp on the outside. They should be tender on the inside.

These croutons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, refresh in an oven on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes.

These can be a delicious addition to soup (or even a yummy snack!)


Dressings

(I’m including 2 dressings at my husband’s insistence. He likes them both so much that he thinks you should have a choice!)

Recipe #1

  • 1/4 cup fat free Mayonnaise (or regular if your diet permits)
  • 2 Tablespoons nonfat or regular sour cream, depending on dietary needs
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon or stone-ground brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3-4 drops hot pepper sauce or to taste-(optional)
  • Nonfat milk or hotfoot half and half for thinning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients except salt, pepper and milk, in a small bowl. Add a small amount of milk at a time, to thin till the dressing runs nicely off the spoon. Add salt and pepper. Refrigerate till ready to use.

Recipe #2

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt, or nonfat sour cream (Can use regular if diet permits)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (can use other white vinegar or regular balsamic.)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in bowl or jar and whisk to combine. Refrigerate till ready to use.

How to prepare and dress greens for the perfect tossed salad

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add greens and swish in the water to cleanse them. Remove from water and gently shake off excess water. Remove limp leaves.

Spin dry. If you don’t have a salad spinner, put several paper towels a plastic shopping bag along with a few handfuls of greens and whirl over your head several times to remove extra moisture. Repeat till all your greens are dry. Place in bowl.

Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and chill until ready to serve. This will keep your salad greens cold and crisp till ready to assemble your salad.

Toss 10 cups of greens in a large wide bowl with 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice till evenly coated. The best way to toss the salad without bruising the greens, is with your hands. It helps make sure everything is evenly coated.

Sprinkle the greens with salt, then pepper. Carefully toss again to distribute evenly. Taste and season further if necessary.

Add about 2 Tablespoons oil, slowly drizzling over greens and toss with hands again, till just coated.

Plate the salad with your hands, trying to mound them in a tall pile.

You can place other salad ingredients atop the greens to add color, taste and texture. This way, they don’t sink to the bottom of the bowl. Tossing with your hands if you add them to the greens before plating, helps distribute them throughout the salad.