Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cajun Shrimp with a Chunky Tomato Sauce and Homemade Strawberry-Balsamic Salad

Here was my hearty meal before driving to South Carolina the next morning! I wanted to do some sort of shrimp on bread with a sauce, and this is what I came up with.  After spending many nights trying to fall asleep, I developed this idea.

Cajun Shrimp
6 Medium-large size shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Cajun seasoning
1/5 of a lemon (juice and zest)
1 tbsp Soy bean oil (for sautéing shrimp)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1/4 cup milk (for sauce)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Parmesan cheese
Fresh bread (I used ciabatta), cut into rectangles and toasted

In a large sauté pan, heat cooking oil and then throw your shrimp in there.  Sprinkle liberally with cajun seasoning and allow the shrimp to cook.  When shrimp are almost done, sprinkle a little bit of lemon on the shrimp (but not all, because you want most of it for the sauce).  When shrimp are finished, set them on a plate and keep them in a warm oven.

In the same pan, add in olive oil and flour to make a roux.  You can add the salt and pepper in now or wait until the sauce starts.  Mix up the oil and flour until you get an off-white paste.  Allow that paste to bubble and then add in milk, about 2 tbsp at a time.  You may have to use a whisk to stir.  Once the sauce starts to thicken, add in more milk.  You don't want it too thin, so add a little at a time.  Once the sauce is to your desired consistency, add in the tomato paste, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir.  Allow the mixture to bubble a little once the ingredients are incorporated.  Then throw in your tomatoes and allow the mixture to bubble again, which will allow the tomatoes to cook.  Then add your oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.  It could even use a little fresh basil if you have some (I didn't add it, but it definitely could have used it!)

Once sauce is done, bring out shrimp and dice the shrimp into large pieces.  Place the shrimp on the bread slices and then spoon the sauce over the shrimp.  Top them with some yummy parmesan cheese and serve!

I served this with my mom's classic balsamic salad.  The dressing is sweet, tangy, garlicky, and is so yummy you could drink this stuff!  When my mom would ask me to make this (when I was being a little sous chef), I would cry and cry thinking I would mess it up. But you really can't mess up this dressing.  It's so simple!
My mom made this when I was growing up in a wooden bowl that would easily grind the mixture, but that bowl is long gone so I had to develop my own process of making the dressing.

Strawberry-Balsamic Salad
2 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp sugar free strawberry jam

In a mortar and pestel (or some sort of grinding apparatus), throw in your garlic, about 1/2 tsp of salt and about 10 grinds of fresh pepper and then mush the garlic. You are going to want a paste consistency, so you have to work at it.
Once you get a paste consistency, use a whisk and stir in about 2 tbsp of olive oil. (I do this next part by taste, so you can continue to taste until you get the right flavor).  Once the oil has been mixed well, continue to add about the same amount of balsamic vinegar.  Taste until the mixture tastes like balsamic, and not oil.  Then add in the strawberry jam and mix again. Yummm!! Drizzle over some salad and serve.

When I make salads, I generally use fresh spinach.  I put a number of toppings on it: strawberries, walnuts, cranberries, mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts... basically anything goes well.  The sweet and salty topping mix generally makes it amazing.  Sometimes I sauté some chicken or steak and throw it on there.

What kind of salad dressing do you make??


  1. Please come and make this for me! I love shrimp dishes, but I never get around to making them. This looks delicious and I'm bookmarking it for future use!

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