While you might think of vanilla as a seasoning for baked goods, it's also fantastic with savoury dishes, particularly salads and seafood. This method of gently poaching the shrimp ensures it will stay tender and sweet. You can prepare the greens, vegetables and fruit ahead of time, then dress the salad and cook the shrimp right before serving for an easy, impressive lunch or dinner party appetizer that is as colourful as it is delicious.
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
and cooled but not resolidified
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
Pinch piment d'Espelette or cayenne
12 large shrimp, thawed, if necessary; peeled and deveined
4 cups (1 L) mixed arugula and spinach
1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (15 mL) honey
Dash each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
2 cups (500 mL) cubed honeydew melon
1 cup (250 mL) halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped orange or yellow pepper
In a broad, flat dish, combine the butter, vanilla, piment d'Espelette and shrimp. Let sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and fruit for the salad. Refrigerate if marinating longer.
Wash and dry arugula and spinach; put leaves in a big bowl.
Combine lemon juice, vanilla, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil in a small jar with a tight lid. Shake to combine well.
Drizzle dressing over greens and toss well so the leaves are thoroughly coated.
Divide dressed leaves among serving plates. Top with melon, tomatoes and pepper.
Bring 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of water to a boil in a medium saucepan just large enough to hold the shrimp in a single layer. Reduce heat to medium low and scrape the shrimp and butter mixture into the pot.
Cover pot and cook shrimp at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer shrimp to the salads, arranging evenly, and serve.
Serves 2 for a main course or 4 as an appetizer.