I think this is my new favorite salad. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is. It’s spicy and smoky, crunchy and refreshing, which is good because it’s been over 90° here this week with 10,000% humidity. It would also be the perfect bring-to-cook-out dish (and Monday is Memorial Day!).
It all starts with a giant jicama. This one was the last one in the store and was buried under a pile of celery root. I dug it out though. And it was huge. I mean, huge. At least 2 pounds. When I shredded it, it filled my entire food processor container, and that thing is big.
Next came the black beans. Those were simple — I used canned. Then I cooked a few slices of sweet, center-cut bacon. It has less fat than regular bacon and gives the salad that smoky, meaty flavor. Then I quickly sauteed the shrimp in the bacon fat until they were just done. (If you’re not into the whole bacon thing, you can always use steamed shrimp and add a tablespoon of smoked paprika for flavor.)
A lot of lime zest, lime juice, scallions, cilantro and a couple of serrano peppers went in as well and everything was tossed together in a big blue bowl. A refreshing and satisfying salad for a cook out or a quiet summer evening.
Shrimp, Jicama & Black Bean Salad w/Lime Serrano Pepper Dressing
To make it a bit healthier, or if you don’t eat pork, you can omit the bacon. To retain the smoky flavor, add 1 tbsp. smoked paprika to the dressing and used steamed shrimp instead.
zest of 2 limes
2 serrano peppers with seeds, minced
juice of 2 miles
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 large jicama (or 2 small), peeled and shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 lbs. shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tail off
4 slices center cut bacon, thinly sliced
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 big bunch cilantro, chopped
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
Whisk together the lime zest, juice, serrano peppers, olive oil, vinegar and salt for the dressing. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp (10 – 15 minutes). Place a few paper towels on a plate and remove the bacon from the fat with a slotted spoon to the paper towels. Make sure to remove all the pieces to avoid burnt specks and lots of smoke.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp to the skillet with the bacon fat. Sautee the shrimp, continuously stirring until the shrimp are just opaque, about 5 – 6 minutes.
In a very large bowl, combine the jicama, black beans, cilantro, scallions, bacon and shrimp and toss with dressing until everything is evenly coated. Serve with tortilla shells or tortilla chips.
This recipe yields enough for 6 – 8 to eat as an entree and 10 – 20 as a side dish.