When it gets hot outside, I start to think about salads. Just like soups in the fall and winter, salads are the savior of summer dinner. They’re so versatile – farro with feta and roasted vegetables, romaine with heirloom tomato, avocado and cucumber, pasta with cucumber, tomato, kalamata olives, and sundried tomatoes…you know what I mean.
And this summer salad – it may be my favorite yet.
The Food52 contest ‘Your Best Mayonnaise-Based Salad’ inspired me to come up with a unique summer salad. Do you ever enter their contests? It’s fun to see what all of the creative cooks out there come up with.
So try this salad on some sultry summer evening and let me know what you think.
Shrimp, Melon, and Cucumber Salad with Spicy Mayonnaise
I used cantaloupe, but use any melon you like. You can eat the salad right after you prepare it for a room temperature version or chill it first. Try it rolled up taco-style in crunchy cabbage or lettuce leaves – delicious!
For the spicy mayonnaise:
1/3 cup mayonnaise (maybe your own)
1 tablespoon sriracha hot chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon each soy sauce and lemon juice
For the salad:
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced into 1/2″ wedges (no need to peel if you’re using an English cucumber)
1/2 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
2 green onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 avocado, cut in bite size chunks
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced crosswise into thin slivers
8 cabbage or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
To make the spicy mayonnaise, whisk together mayonnaise, sriracha hot chili sauce, soy sauce, and lemon juice in a small bowl; set aside.
To cook the shrimp, bring about 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan (you want enough water to just cover the shrimp); stir in a small handful of salt. Add shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, or until pink and cooked through. Drain shrimp in a colander and set aside to cool. Coarsely chop the shrimp when they are cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cucumber, melon, green onions, celery, avocado, almonds, and chopped shrimp. Add mayonnaise to mixture and gently stir to combine. Divide mixture between four serving plates or scoop into whole cabbage or lettuce leaves divided among the plates. Sprinkle slivered basil evenly over each. Serve.
Serves 4 generously