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

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce and Pickled Red Onions

Shrimp Tacos, Cilantro Lime Sauce, Pickled Onions

These shrimp tacos are seasoned perfectly, and make a delicious and healthy meal that are easy to make too.  Tacos are a great way to bring people together at a casual dinner party, family dinner or a fun way to spend an evening with good friends.

Tacos are very popular because there are so many options.  You can use chicken, pulled pork, beef, fish, shrimp, lobster, bean, anything you like.  They are also fun to eat and put together…a family dinner becomes a special time together, not just another meal.

Let’s begin with the shrimp. . . 

Ingredients for Shrimp Tacos:
1 – lb. large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2 – tsp. Chili powder
1/2 – tsp. Paprika
1/2 – tsp. Adobo Seasoning
1/2 – tsp. Cumin
1/4 – tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 – tsp. Ground black pepper
1/4 – tsp. Salt (or to taste)
1 – tbls. Olive oil
1 – tbls water if needed
1- package corn tortillas

Peel and devein the shrimp then rinse them in cold water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  Add all the spices to a bowl the add the olive oil and mix well.

Now add the shrimp to the spices and stir to coat the shrimp thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cooking.

While the shrimp are marinating, prepare the condiments.  

You can use a variety of condiments for tacos, such as pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro, onion, lettuce, cheese, crema, and much more. Today I am topping off the shrimp with pickled red onions, cilantro lime jalapeño sauce, and crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream).

Let’s start with the cilantro lime sauce.

Ingredients for Cilantro Jalapeño Lime Sauce:
2 –  packed cups of fresh cilantro
1 – large lime
1 – jalapeño 
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground pepper
2 – tbls. olive oil
1 – tbls. water if needed

Add the cilantro, juice of one lime, jalapeño, salt, black pepper, and olive oil to a food processor and blend until smooth.  If the consistency is too thick add a little water.

Store the sauce in a small jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  It will last about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Now let’s make the pickled onions.

Pickled Red Onion:
1 – large red onion sliced
1/2 – cup cider vinegar
1/2 – cup water
1 1/2 – tbls honey
1 – tbls sugar

Peel and cut onion in half. Thinly slice the onion and place the onion slices into a glass canning jar.  

Pour the vinegar, water, honey and sugar into a small sauce pan.  Heat just long enough to dissolve the honey and sugar.  

Pour the vinegar mixture over the sliced onions in the canning jar. Mix with a spoon to cover the onions. Cover the jar with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.  

The pickled onions will last two weeks in the refrigerator.

When the onions have had about one hour to pickle, you can cook the shrimp.

Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet, then add the shrimp.  Cook until they start to turn pink, then turn and repeat.  They cook quickly; it should only take about 4-5 minutes.

Assemble the tacos. First warm the tortillas in the oven or toaster oven.

Place the shrimp in the corn tortilla, and top with onions, then drizzle a little cilantro lime sauce and crema.  You can double up on the corn tortilla if you like.  They won’t break apart that way.

Serve immediately.

Makes 8 tacos.

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!

Linguine with Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in a Light Cream Sauce


Two of my favorite things put together….pasta and shrimp. I created this recipe a few years ago when I was having some friends over for dinner. I wanted to create a recipe with a nice balance of sweet tomato and savory capers enhanced by a light cream sauce. I find that the half and half adds just the right amount of richness without being too heavy. Give it a try. It is easy and quick to make.

1 – lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. tomato paste
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 – cup white wine (use a good dry table wine that you like to drink)
2 – tbls. capers
1 – cup grape tomatoes (cut in half)
3/4 – cup half and half
Ground black pepper
1 – lb. linguine
1 – tbls. chopped fresh parsley
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp. salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente (a little bite) or according to the package directions.

In the meantime, prepare the shrimp and sauce. It does not take long to make, so the sauce should be ready by the time the pasta is cooked. Rinse off the shelled and deveined shrimp in cold water (I buy the shrimp already deveined; this saves a lot of time). Dry them off on paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium flame. Peel the garlic and smash it with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add it to the hot oil and sauté about 2 minutes, then add the shrimp. Stir often and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Now add the crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste and let cook about 1 minute before adding the wine. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan and incorporate the tomato paste. Turn the flame down to low and let cook until the wine is reduced by half. This takes about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir often and watch so that it does not all evaporate. Remove just the shrimp and set aside.

Add to the skillet the grape tomatoes and capers and cook about 2 minutes. If the capers are the large variety, chopped them before adding. Next add the half and half. Stir and let cook about 2 minutes more. Return the shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook about 1 minute more to finish cooking the shrimp. Add about 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper and salt to taste. Taste the sauce before adding salt because the capers are salty. Before you add the pasta remove the garlic cloves from the sauce.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the skillet with the shrimp and sauce. Mix through and top off with one teaspoons chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Note: In the Italian tradition, cheese is not served with seafood; however, if you want to add grated pecorino or parmesan cheese then please do.