Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shrimp & Avocado Salad

One of my favorite cuisines is Cuban so it seemed natural to host a cooking party highlighting Cuban food. And what's a Cuban party without some mojitos?! Over the past weekend I hosted a 'Havana Nights' cooking party inspired by some of my favorite Cuban dishes. We had a full menu and for the remainder of the week I'll be featuring recipes my group and I made together. Being that it's summer, I wanted to include a fresh salad that was light and refreshing. This Shrimp & Avocado Salad captured that and is hearty enough as an appetizer or even a filling meal. Chilled shrimp, chopped avocado, diced tomato and slivers of red onion are dressed in a sour orange and garlic mojo dressing for some Cuban flair...

My guests attending our Havana Nights cooking party were a wonderful group to share the kitchen with. We kicked things off with mojitos that they customized at the mojito bar I set up. So with mojitos on hand, we got busy working on our menu. One of the dishes we prepared was this shrimp and avocado salad. It was easy to put together and the salad was so bright and colorful when ready. What made this salad special was the mojo dressing. Mojo is a traditionally Cuban marinade or dressing made with the juice of sour oranges and garlic. Many Latin markets will often times carry bottled mojo dressing but it's just as easy, if not tastier making it yourself. A specific variety of sour oranges are typically used in the authentic version but if you can't find sour orange juice or sour oranges at your market, you can substitute it with equal parts of orange juice and lime juice. 

Shrimp & Avocado Salad
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp, steamed or boiled and chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • peeled avocado, cut into 12 wedges and chopped

  • Mojo dressing:
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
    2/3 cup sour orange juice* (or equal portions orange juice & lime juice)
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place cooked shrimp in a bowl over ice or chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the mojo dressing by combining the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. 
  3. Just before serving, add the tomatoes, red onions, cilantro and avocados to the bowl with shrimp. 
  4. Pour over the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. 
* Many Latin grocery stores sell bottles of "naranja agria" bitter orange juice, you can also find it for sale online.