Kitchen Quickie: Key West BLT

Lily, 13 months old in Key West (not in a bar).

When Lily was a baby, Mike and I went to Key West. I clearly remember our first meal–in a bar on Duval Street with, well, our baby. It was ridiculous. But we were hungry after a long day of travel and bar food fit our appetites. I ordered this amazing Shrimp BLT–it was perfect–a Key West spin on a classic.

This makes a great lunch and takes just a few minutes to pull together. Since I am a bit of a food diva, I love that this meal is a little extra special–who wants a plain jane sandwich?!  I always seem to have some shrimp in my freezer that I can defrost under cold running water quickly.

The recipe makes one sandwich–you can up size it to accommodate your crowd!


Ingredients:
Crusty bread (try sour dough or something else fun)
6 medium shrimp, defrosted, peeled and tails removed
1/2 of one lime
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 slices of uncured turkey bacon
3 thick slices of beefsteak tomato or other slicing tomato (I used an heirloom yellow beefsteak)
4 leaves of romaine or leafy green lettuce
Mayo

Put it together:
1. In a grill pan or skillet, cook bacon. Crack some black pepper over top of bacon (makes it yummy!)
2.  Toss raw shrimp with the juice of the lime, kosher salt and pepper. Grill/sauteed shrimp along side bacon, about 3 minutes a side, until cooked through.
3. Toast the bread. Smear each slice of bread with mayo, top with a slice of lettuce, tomato slices (sprinkle with kosher salt), pile on shrimp and bacon.
 4. Cut in half. Grab a beer. And enjoy!

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Kitchen Quickie: I died and went to Rouge Salad

Back in college, Mike worked at the swanky and marvelous restaurant Rouge on Rittenhouse Square. Mike learned so much about food and I got to partake in amazing, gourmet meals. One of my favorite dishes: the Bibb and Endive salad. This salad was topped with crunchy, spicy cashews and creamy roquefort cheese. It is simple and yet tastes complex and well, to quote Lily, “fancy!”


My version of this salad pulls together in less than 5 minutes! It is a quick and sophisticated side dish–perfect for Fall meals and for company. Instead of cashews, I use pre-packaged sweet and spicy pecans from Trader Joes. I love these pecans–they retail for $3.99 in South Jersey and really add a wow to the salad. You can find various sweet/spicy nuts at your local grocery store if there is not a Trader Joes nearby.


Ingredients:
  • Spring Mix (I love the versions of pre-bagged spring mix that include fresh herbs. Trader Joes has a version as does Earth’s Best Organic)
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans (from Trader Joes or substitute something you find locally!)
  • Gorgonzola cheese (or you can use plain jane bleu cheese. Not a fan of the bleus, try feta)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette or, if you want to be super fancy, truffle oil and balsamic vinegar

Pile a generous handful of Spring Mix onto your salad plate. Top with a sprinkling of cranberries, pecans and cheese. Drizzle about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette on top OR drizzle with truffle oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt/Pepper to taste.