Shrimp and Corn Salsa Appetizer

Shrimp Corn Salsa

I am always looking for new ideas for appetizers, especially one that is light, healthy, and delicious. Shrimp are very versatile, which makes the possibilities endless. For this recipe, I am using a latin spice profile for its warm, bold, aromatic flavors. Cucumber will be the base of the appetizer, which makes this extra healthy. You can also use a crostini or a tortilla chip if you prefer.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for Shrimp Marinade:
½ – lb. small shrimp, cleaned and deveined
¼ – tsp. salt
¼ – tsp. ground black pepper
¼ – tsp. smoked paprika
¼ – tsp. Adobo seasoning
¼ – tsp. Cumin
¼ – tsp. garlic powder
¼ – tsp. chili powder
1 – tsp. olive oil
1 – english cucumber

Place the cleaned and dried shrimp in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all the spices (not the cucumber) and mix together.  Drizzle olive oil over the shrimp, add the spice mixture and mix thoroughly. 

latin flavored shrimp

Cover and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. You can let the shrimp marinate while you prepare the salsa, but let them marinate for at least ½ hour.

Now let’s prepare the corn salsa. 

Ingredients for the Corn Salsa:
1 – can sweet corn (no salt added)
1/2 – red bell pepper finely diced
¼ – cup red onion finely diced
¼ – tsp. Adobo
½ – tsp. garlic powder
¼ – tsp. chili powder
1/8 – tsp. cumin
½ – tsp salt or to taste
1/8 – tsp. ground black pepper
2 – tbls chopped cilantro
1 – small lime

Finely dice the bell pepper and onion. Open the can of corn and drain out the water. Place it into a medium sized bowl. Add the diced pepper and onion to the corn. In a separate bowl, add all the spices and mix together. I used the same flavor profile as the shrimp marinade, except for the smoked paprika.  Squeeze the juice of the lime over the corn mixture, mix well, then add the chopped cilantro and mix it through.  Set aside until ready to serve.  It is best to serve it at room temperature.

corn salsa

Prepare the cucumber just before you are ready to cook the shrimp.

You can use any cucumber you prefer, but I use the english cucumber because they are crisper than regular cucumbers, and the skin is not waxy. Wash the cucumber and pat it dry. Cut it into ¼ inch thick slices.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

Cook the shrimp.

Cooking the shrimp is very fast, so cook them just before you are ready to serve them.

Add a little canola oil to a skillet and heat on a medium-high flame. Drop in the marinated shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 2-3 minutes.  Stir often.  Do not over cook.

It’s time to assemble:

Take a oiled and salted cucumber slice and place a little corn salsa on top , then top off with one shrimp.  As you put it together, place it on a serving platter. Repeat with the rest of the cucumber slices until you fill the platter. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro over the top and serve immediately.

Shrimp Corn Salsa

Poached Salmon with Dill Sauce

Salmon, poached, dill

This poached salmon is delicious and simple to make. The combination of wine and orange juice give the salmon a fresh and mild taste, and the dill sauce compliments its perfectly.

The first time I tried this recipe was about 13 years ago at an office luncheon. It was a potluck lunch and this salmon was one of the dishes. At that time, salmon was not my favorite fish because I often found it to have a strong taste. When I tried the salmon, I was pleasantly surprised, and I made sure to ask how it was made. Ever since, this is the only recipe I use.

Another good thing about this recipe is that it is good left over or even served cold.

1-1/4 – lb. salmon
1 – cup dry white wine
1 – cup orange juice (no pulp)
1 – small bunch fresh dill
ground black pepper

Place the salmon skin side down (scales removed) into a baking pan. Add wine and orange juice. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and place the dill on top. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours before cooking.

While the salmon is marinating, you can make the dill sauce.

Ingredients for Dill Sauce:
1/2 – cup mayonnaise
1 – tbls. Finely chopped fresh dill
1 – tsp, Dijon mustard
1 – tbls. Orange juice

Mix all together and refrigerate until ready to use.

When you are ready to cook the salmon place it in a pre-heated 375° oven, and cook for about 15 minutes. Do not over cook the salmon. It should be moist and flaky. If you are not sure when it is ready, place a thermometer in the thickest part of the salmon and the temperature should be 120° for medium-rare.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Shrimp Scampi with Basmati Rice

Shrimp are always welcome in my house.  There are many different ways to prepare shrimp, so we never get bored with them.  Shrimp Scampi is an Italian-American dish that can be found in almost every Italian or Sea Food Restaurant.

I’m not sure how the name of the dish, Shrimp Scampi came about, because it is a bit redundant; in fact, scampi are langoustines or lobster-like crustaceans found in Italy. Our American version is modeled after an Italian dish made with olive oil, garlic, onions and white wine, but we substitute the scampi with shrimp. No matter what the origins, this is a delicious meal.

This recipe is easy and fast to prepare, especially if you buy the shrimp already deveined.  The rice takes about 25 minutes to prepare, but even so you can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes.

Ingredients for Basmati Rice:
1 1/2 – cups basmati rice
1/3 – cup diced shallot
2 – tbls. canola oil
3 – cups chicken stock
1/2 – tsp. salt

1/2 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat canola oil in a large skillet then add the diced shallot and cook on medium heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain with the oil.

Cook about 3-4 minutes until the rice starts to toast. Stir it often to prevent it from burning.

Now add the chicken stock, salt, black pepper and Adobo. Stir and cover with a lid to bring to a boil. (I use a low-sodium chicken stock. Go easy on the salt, you can always add more later.) Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until the liquid is absorbed. This takes about 20 minutes. The rice should be tender and flakey.

Take off the heat and set aside until the shrimp are ready.

Ingredients for Shrimp:
1 – lb. extra large shrimp with tails, cleaned and deveined. (Buy them already cleaned and deveined from the market)
4 – cloves garlic
1/4 – cup olive oil
1/4 – cup unsalted butter
1/4 – cup diced shallot
1/3 – cup dry white wine
1/4 – tsp. red pepper flake
1 – lemon
Fresh Italian flat parsley
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet, then add the garlic cloves and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Be sure not to let them burn. Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain. Once the garlic is ready add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little salt and ground black pepper.

Cook until they just start to turn pink. Stir often to cook all sides. This should take only about 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl and set aside, but leave the garlic in the skillet. Add the shallot and red pepper flake, and sauté about 2 minutes until they start to soften.

Now add the juice of the lemon and the wine and cook about 2 minutes until the alcohol cooks out.  Add about one tablespoon of butter and return the shrimp to the skillet.

Toss and cook about one minute more. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve the shrimp over the rice and drizzle the sauce over the shrimp and the rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Tuna Cakes

img_0265Tuna cakes are an economical and delicious substitution for crab cakes. This recipe is modeled after one that I learned from my mother-in-law. She made these often on Fridays because she did not eat meat in observance of an old church rule. I have altered them over the years to make them more flavorful.


2 – 5.5 oz. cans tuna fish in olive oil
(I recommend using an Italian brand. I find that the tuna has a much better flavor)
3/4 – cup onion finely diced
1 – stalk celery finely diced
1/2 – cup panko break crumbs (plus 3/4 cup for breading the patties)
1/2 – cup mayonnaise
1/4 – cup ketchup
1 – tbls. capers
1 – egg
2 – tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/4 – tsp. black pepper


Drain the tuna and place it in a large bowl and break up with a fork. Dice onion, celery, and capers then add them to the tuna. Add panko bread crumbs, mayonnaise, ketchup, and seasonings. In a small bowl whisk one egg, then add it to the tuna mixture. Mix all together thoroughly with a large spoon.

Pour the rest of the panko breadcrumbs on a flat plate. Form the tuna mixture into patties and coat them on all sides with the breadcrumbs. If they seem too soft you can add a little more panko bread crumbs. It will make 7 – 8 patties.

Heat 1 tbls. butter and a little canola oil in a large skillet (the oil will keep the butter from burning). Cook the tuna cakes on a medium-low flame on both sides until golden brown.

While the cakes are cooking, prepare the Remoulade sauce.

Remoulade Sauce ingredients:

1/2 – cup mayonnaise
1 – tbls. Ketchup
1 – tbls. Sweet relish
1 – tbls. Dijon mustard
2 – tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/2 – tbls. Capers chopped
1/8 – tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
Pinch – ground black pepper


Chop the capers, then in a medium sized bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Crispy Fried Shrimp


Fried shrimp is one of my favorite fun foods.  As a young girl I looked forward to those special occasions when we went out for dinner so that I could order the fried shrimp.  I never got tired of eating it.  With just a little effort it is possible to have fried shrimp at home that are better than any I have eaten in a restaurant.

In this recipe I use panko breadcrumbs, which make the shrimp extra crispy.  I use jumbo shrimp, but you can use smaller ones if you like, but I would not go smaller than the “large” shrimp.  Typically I serve it with cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  There are simple recipes included below.


1 – lb. jumbo shrimp (You can buy them de-veined with the tails on.  This will save you some work.)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 – cup all purpose flour
2 – eggs
1/4 – cup milk

Breadcrumb Ingredients:

2 1/2 – cups of Panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 – tsp. oregano
2 – tbls. fresh parsley chopped
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 – tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 – tsp. Adobo Seasoning
1/3 – tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/4 – cup pecorino romano cheese
1/2 – tsp. fresh thyme (optional)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.


Prepare the breadcrumbs and set aside.  Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towel. With a sharp knife, butterfly the shrimp.  Make a slit in the middle of the end of each shrimp, about half way through the length of the shrimp.  There are two reasons for doing this; one, they look nicer butterflied, and two, it flattens them out so that they can be fried in less oil.


Place the butterflied shrimp on a plate and sprinkle a little salt and black pepper on both sides.

Now, set up for the breading process.  Take two large plates — on one place the flour, on the other put 1/2 of the breadcrumbs.  In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk.


Dredge the shrimp first into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs.  Cover completely and press down on each side to help the crumbs to adhere to the shrimp.  If you have time, it is helpful to let the breaded shrimp rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  This helps the breading to adhere.


Pour enough canola oil into the bottom of a large skillet to about a 1/8″ depth.  Heat on a medium-high flame.  Do not add shrimp until the oil is hot.  You know the oil is ready when you drop a few bread crumbs in and they sizzle.

Do not over crowd the pan.  Shrimp cook very quickly.  Cook them about 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  If they are browning too quickly, lower the flame a little.  If you are using smaller shrimp, the cook time will be less.

1 lb. of shrimp will serve 3-4 people.
Serve immediately.

Cocktail Sauce:
1/2 – cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 – cup ketchup
1 – tsp. hot sauce (more if you like)
2 – tbls. horseradish (less is you like)
1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Keep chilled until ready to use.

Tartar Sauce:
1/2 – cup mayonnaise
2 – tbls. sweet relish
1/2 – tsp. hot sauce
1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Keep chilled until ready to use.