I can’t even think how long ago we first started making the original version of this salad, but it has to be at least 20 years ago. I think it’s probably more like 30 years ago, and it might be possible that it’s older even than that. Whatever. Suffice to say it’s probably been in my recipe file since I was 2 or 3. The original recipe called for salad greens, canned mandarin oranges and sliced avocado, mixed with a sweet and sour dressing and sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds. It was such a good salad and we made it pretty often back in the day.
Over the years I swapped out the canned mandarins with fresh clementines, or navel oranges when clementines weren’t in season, and added a sprinkling of goat cheese or blue cheese. I haven’t messed with the salad dressing, as that would be pointless. It’s perfect…sweet, sour, delicious.
But then last night, wanting something a little lighter for dinner, I thought I’d turn our beloved salad into a main dish by adding roasted shrimp and dressing it up a bit further with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. And boy howdy, if our humble little salad from the ‘60’s didn’t morph into something rather glamorously sophisticated! And not coincidentally, even more delicious!
There’s definitely a lot going on in that salad bowl– seven ingredients might seem a bit excessive. But every flavor and texture either holds its own or plays very nicely with everyone else, creating a lovely salad that’s deliciously complicated, yet well-mannered and remarkably harmonious. Not a bad looker either. Here’s the recipe…
Mixed Greens Salad with Clementines, Avocado and Roasted Shrimp
This is such a deliciously versatile salad. You can easily leave out the shrimp and serve it as a tasty side dish. I sometimes swap out the goat cheese for blue cheese with really delicious results. Be sure to add a good portion of the goat cheese to the salad before mixing and adding the salad dressing. The goat cheese blends a little with the dressing to add a bit of creaminess. The salad holds pretty well in the fridge for up to ½ hour before serving. Oh, and be sure to serve it with some fresh, warm, crusty bread.
Serves 2 as a main course salad
4 cups of romaine and leaf lettuces torn into small pieces
2 clementines, peeled and segmented
1 avocado, sliced
¼ cup slivered toasted almonds
3 oz goat cheese, divided (see headnote)
½ lb raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
Sweet and sour dressing:
½ c oil
3 T wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
2 T sugar
½ t salt
½ t dry mustard
2 tsp grated or minced onion or shallots
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a small-ish baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to emulsify. Place the shrimp in a bowl or ziptop bag, and pour a little of the dressing over the shrimp. Mix well, cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about ½ hour. Place the rest of the dressing in the refrigerator to chill.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade (discard the marinade) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the shrimp have just turned pink and are barely cooked through. Be careful not to overcook them. Place the cooked shrimp on a plate, cover, and refrigerate while you assemble the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, clementines, avocado, slivered almonds, and 2/3 of the goat cheese. Add the chilled shrimp and just enough of the dressing to coat everything really well. Sprinkle the salad with the remaining goat cheese and the pomegranate seeds, if using. So nice if served with some fresh, crusty bread.