Shrimp and Avocado with Green Sauce

Shrimp and Avocado with Green Sauce
Copyright 2008 Lynne Rossetto Kasper

4 to 6 servings

Salad

1 head romaine, bruised leaves discarded
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 1/2 pounds cooked, shelled and deveined medium shrimp (could be purchased at the take-out counter)

Green Sauce
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup tightly packed coriander leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and drained
1 sweet red pepper, roasted and cut into chunks
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Cider or palm vinegar to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Arrange romaine on large platter. Top with avocado and mound with shrimp.

2. Combine all ingredients for sauce in processor or blender and puree. Drizzle over salad and serve immediately. (Sauce can be made several hours ahead and held at room temperature.)

LYNNE'S TIPS

This salad is all about the highly flavored sauce. The anchovies add great depth of flavor but you could cut back or eliminate them if you're not a fan. Buy salt-packed ones if you can find them. Rinse off the salt, soak 10 minutes in cold water and pat dry. To bone, open them like a book and lift out the center back bone with the tip of a small paring knife. It's like pulling on a zipper; usually the entire bone structure comes off at once.

Use fresh basil if you have some on hand.

For the roasted pepper, you could use jarred ones. Or roast a batch when it's cool and keep them in the refrigerator, sprinkled with a little vinegar.

Roast sweet red bell peppers by placing them on a baking sheet under the oven broiler, or over a wood charcoal fire without the baking sheet. Watch closely and turn frequently with tongs until the entire surface is blistered or charred. Use the tongs to stuff them into a paper bag, seal and let stand 20 minutes. Once cool, slip the skins off the peppers. If you have a gas stove, use long tongs to hold the pepper over a high flame until blistered or charred; then cool and peel.

You could substitute other greens but make them sturdier ones. Delicately flavored baby greens could be overwhelmed by the sauce.

Leftover cooked chicken, cook tempeh, or grilled vegetables could stand in for the shrimp.
THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE

Avocados are available all year in most markets. The two varieties commonly seen are the Hass, with its dark pebbly skin, that's grown from April to October, and the bright green, smooth-skinned Fuerte available from October to April.

Their rich, buttery taste makes them a perfect stand-in for mayonnaise, or puree with vanilla ice cream, some fresh lime juice, a few drops of almond extract and a minced jalapeno chile for a very different dessert.

When their flavor is fine, serve them with as little fussiness as possible, that is moistened with fresh lime juice and sprinkled with coarse salt.

Select avocados that are unblemished, heavy for their size and yield slightly when gently pressed with your finger. When only rock-hard ones are available, hasten ripening by placing several avocados in a paper bag, close the bag and set aside at room temperature for several days.

Sprinkle the cut surfaces of avocados with lemon or lime juice to retard darkening. For best flavor, don't refrigerate ripe avocados for more than a day.