Garlic Shrimp with Avocado Basil Salad

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It’s difficult to tell from the title, but basil is the inspiration for this dish.  If you live in an area with four distinct seasons, cooler weather means the end of outside basil plants.  It’s time to make a lot of recipes with this summer herb before the first frost kills it off.  It’s also time to start rooting new plants indoors, so you can enjoy it’s fresh, flowery aroma in the cold winter months.

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Rooting a basil plant is easy.  Cut a stem beneath a node (a node is a small bump that will grow leaves), and remove the leaves growing from the bottom of the stem.  Do you see the little bumps with leaves growing from it?  Those are the nodes.

Dip the stem in honey, and then place the little plant in a glass of water.

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Keep this cutting indoors, and out of direct sunlight.  Change the water every other day or so, and soon you’ll have long white roots growing along the stem.  At that point, go ahead and plant it in soil.

This entire meal was created for the basil.  I wanted to make something with it, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make.  Tomatoes taste great with basil, and I had some tomatoes.  Corn tastes good with basil, and roasted hot peppers like jalapeño also taste good with corn.  I don’t know the name of this pepper, but it’s popular in Italy and is a fine substitute for a  jalapeño.

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Shrimp tastes good with corn, and it also tastes good with basil and garlic, rucola adds a great peppery taste to tomatoes, and since I had an avocado I figured that its rich and creamy texture would cool down the hot pepper.

I used a bit of Churrasco BBQ seasoning I had purchased on a whim.  The label listed ancho peppers and smoked salt amongst a lot of other tasty herbs and spices and those all sounded good to me.  Glad I picked it up!  It’s a great blend I can use for a lot of different things.

Just a little bit on the shrimp to bring out the flavors in the rest of the dish.

This really turned out nice, and tastes as great as it looks.  Two days later we had a guest over for supper, and we shared a lovely meal with a lovely wine. Twice in one week was just fine for this dish, and we’ll certainly be eating it again.

Garlic Shrimp with Avocado Basil Salad

Serves 3-4

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t Churrasco BBQ seasoning

1/4 t salt

1 C sweet corn

2 C chopped tomatoes

2 T roasted (or grilled) hot pepper, peeled, ribs and seeds taken out, minced

4 Cups Rucola (also known as Rocket or Arugula)

1/4 C basil, chiffonade

1/2 avocado per person, sliced

*tips* – If you char your your pepper on the grill, you may want to cut a small slit in it.  I had a pepper bomb go off and the sound was impressive.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but next time they’re all getting a ventilation hole cut in them.

If your tomatoes have a lot of liquid in them, simply let them drain in a colander for a little bit before mixing with the rest of the salad.

Combine all salad ingredients except the avocado. Slice the avocado at the end so it doesn’t oxidize.

Combine the shrimp, a drizzle of olive oil, garlic and spices in a glass dish, and stir well.  Heat about a quarter cup of olive oil in a saute pan set over low heat, and transfer the shrimp to the pan.  Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes per side.  Add more olive oil if you need it. Timing depends on the shrimp, but once it changes color and starts to curl you are ready to go.  It will continue to cook once you take the pan off the heat and serve it.

Slice the avocado, plate each dish, and serve with a nice wine!

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