Three years ago, when my daughter left for college, I suddenly found myself avoiding my kitchen. I no longer had to cook a meal every night or figure out a way to make leftovers interesting the next day. At first, it was liberating. No cooking schedule or meal planning. I could eat popcorn for dinner if I wanted to.
Not the healthiest choice, but one I would occasionally make. Then the reality of being an empty nester kicked in. I missed my daughter, and I missed cooking every night. I threw myself back into my kitchen and began creating recipes with minimal leftovers. Recipes ideal for a single person or as a single meal for two. This week I created a Grilled Shrimp Arugula Salad. A light, flavorful meal that’s perfect for warm weather nights.
Garlic Shrimp Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Preparation for this dish is in three parts. The roasted bell pepper, balsamic vinaigrette and garlic shrimp.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper
1 red bell pepper roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into ½” strip.
*(You can also buy roasted red bell peppers in a jar.)
Heat your broiler to high and position the rack in the upper third of the oven.
Roast the whole bell pepper, turning occasionally for 20 minutes. Once the bell pepper is blackened and blistered on all sides, remove. Place the pepper into a bowl, cover tightly with a plate or plastic wrap for about 30 minutes. Once the pepper cools down, remove the skin and slice open. Remove the seeds and membrane. Slice into ½” strips and set aside.
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and black pepper together in a glass jar. Close the jar and shake well until combined. Set aside.
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ to ½ pound of shrimp peeled and deveined
Salt to taste
3 cloves of finely minced garlic
Place shrimp in a bowl and season with a little salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in garlic and stir for about a minute until fragrant. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about a minute without stirring. Stir the shrimp for about another minute until cooked through. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Combine the arugula, roasted red pepper strips in a bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. Plate the arugula and peppers, then place a few garlic shrimp on the salad. Ir you like, use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano on top of salad. Serve immediately. Serves 2