Monday, June 10, 2013

Shrimp and Fennel Salad

We love it when an unexpected meal comes together! Ryan and I were packing up for the beach, which meant cleaning out the fridge for dinner. We had some frozen shrimp in the freezer and just enough ingredients for two salads. Ryan insisted that I add this salad to the blog because it was so good!!

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

I realize that most people don’t just have some of these ingredients laying around in their fridge, but go get them!

While I was putting the salads together, I was working on one of the new cocktails for a future June Cocktail Month post (spoiler alert – Cilantro Pineapple Julep). The drink and salad paired perfectly together and put us in the perfect mood to finish packing up for the beach.

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

Here is a tip for using frozen shrimp. A lot of times I will purchase shrimp in bulk and freeze for later use because I can’t always find fresh, local (or wild caught) shrimp on demand. The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is to submerge it into cold water in a very large bowl. Change out the water every 10-15 minutes and the shrimp should thaw in about 30 minutes. I do this right when I come home and prep other ingredients while it thaws and voila! The shrimp is thawed and ready to go.

(Side note: if you have a cat, put the bowl of water/shrimp in the microwave to thaw so you can step away without the cat feasting on the raw shrimp. Obviously don't start the microwave!)

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

You have to try this salad because the flavors itself will take you to a delightful, tropical place!

Shrimp and Fennel Salad

Yields: 2 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes (to thaw shrimp)
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
10-12 shrimp, deveined and tails left on (thaw out if frozen)
6-8 cups salad greens (we used romaine and spinach)
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
Brie cheese, sliced (can also use feta, goat cheese or other triple crème cheese)

If using frozen shrimp, thaw this out using the method above.

Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the sliced fennel, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the prepared shrimp with the blackening rub and add the oil to the pan. Sear the shrimp on each side for about 2 minutes and remove from the pan immediately. The shrimp should be just cooked through and slightly bouncy to the touch.

Prepare the remaining ingredients and assemble the salad, then top with your favorite dressing.

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

There are a ton of ways you could dress the salad, but since Ryan loves his Ranch, I don't make up dressings all of the time. For this salad I just topped with a blood orange infused olive oil that I got for Christmas this year. The citrus flavor complimented the spice of the shrimp and the bitterness and sweetness of the fennel. If you don't have this on hand, you could whisk fresh orange juice with olive oil to get the same flavor or top with your favorite simple vinaigrette.

The wonderful thing about salads is that you can top any way you want! Have fun with it and enjoy!!


  1. I thought you hated Fennel?? HAHA UNLIKE ME, YUM...i'll def. try this sans Shrimp! I am confused about Fennel, HELP! I heard, it doesn't have the licorice flavor when cooked?? Also, where does Fennel Seed come from? Is it when you cut opened the bulb or the yellow flower??

    1. I don't like raw fennel because it reminds me of licorice. HOWEVER, when you cook it in a little bit of brown sugar, it becomes nice and sweet with a slight caramelization on the outside! You could put blackened chicken or pork on there instead. The sweet fennel really goes well with the blackening spice.

      I am pretty sure that the seeds are the "fruit" of the fennel plant around the flowers (after they have dried out). The seeds are not in the bulb.

      If you want a less intense fennel recipe to try, check this one out: