So, for optimum health, we’re essentially supposed to say yes to lots of raw vegetables but avoid shellfish and bottom feeders (especially the humanoid kind). But every once in a while you’re allowed, encouraged even, to give yourself a little treat. This is what balance is about, and balance is essential to happiness. And happiness is, of course, everything.
So, Jerk Shrimp Salad! Made healthy by a bed of greens (and reds and oranges and purples) and a wedge of fresh fruit. This is a hot and spicy dish and one that makes me very happy.
This recipe for shrimp is a slightly more respectable version of the Jamaican classic known as ‘Pepper Swimps’ (river shrimp, neither shelled nor deveined, boiled in a fiery scotch bonnet pepper sauce and sold on the roadsides in certain parishes) but has the same finger lickin’ addictiveness.
Like many Jamaicans. I love spicy food. And I have a real weak spot for the unique blend of spices found in Jerk seasoning in particular. The best store-bought Jerk Seasoning -hands down- is the Jamaican-made Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning. This is THE perfect blend of heat and spice (lots of pimento!) and it’s available throughout the Caribbean, the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It comes in both Mild (flavorful but not as spicy) and Hot & Spicy (the real deal).
- 12 medium-sized shell-on shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Walkerwood Jerk Seasoning
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- a sprinkling of black pepper
- Thaw shrimp if they are frozen. Run cold water over them for several minutes to speed up the process.
- Toss shrimp in a bowl with olive oil and season each one thoroughly with Walkerwood Jerk Seasoning and black pepper.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet and lay shrimp on it in a single layer.
- Heat grill on high for 5 minutes.
- Place shrimp under grill on high heat for 3 minutes each side.
- Shrimp will turn from translucent blue-grey to opaque white/pink when they are ready.
- Remove shrimp from grill and toss on top of the pre-prepared salad as below.
- your favorite mix of salad greens (I like an arugula and romaine mix) tossed with any other raw veg you like.
- ½ large salad tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes
- ½ an onion (I prefer white but you can use purple)
- ½ mid-sized ripe papaya
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar + 2 tbsp olive oil, OR your favorite light (not creamy!) salad dressing.
- Chop salad greens as desired. I usually do 2″ lengths for large leaf greens and leave arugula and any small leafy greens whole.
- Slice the onion in thin cylinders and then chop these in half so you end up with thin semi-circular slices.
- Cut the salad tomato in large wedges (or leave whole if they are the cherry kind).
- Toss the greens, onions and tomatoes together in bowl with the olive oil and balsamic (or your own salad dressing). You can also add a dash of black pepper if you wish.
- Place salad in the middle of a plate with a little space left over around the edges.
- Thinly slice the papaya lengthwise and remove the skin; place slices around the edges of the plate.
- Toss jerked shrimp on top of salad.
That’s it! The only other things you’ll need are a side plate for the shrimp shells and to be cool with eating with your fingers. Oh, and maybe a glass of water for when the heat kicks in.