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The Art of the Salad: Sicilian Asparagus and Scampi Salad

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If you ever want to fall in love, rekindle a romance or bask in the radiant glow of amore, there is no place better than spending summer in Sicily. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and it simply reeks with fresh foods, both from the sea and the land. It is one of the hubs for the artistic souls of the European continent and its natural beauty cannot be surpassed and when it comes to cuisine -- there may not be any better!

This salad, my homage to this incredible island, I created after spending a glorious summer week in Sicily. Almost as soon as I got off the plane in New York City from my vacation, I was missing the sounds and tastes of this Eden on Earth. When I finally got back into my kitchen in San Francisco, I had to come up with a dish that exemplified everything I experienced in Sicily. This is that dish!

As a finishing jewel to this truly royal salad, you simply drizzle a Balsamic vinaigrette over its beauty. Serve it with some crusty Italian bread and pour a glass of hearty red wine and you will mentally be in one of the many outstanding restaurants the island has to offer.

Ingredients needed to make Sicilian Asparagus and Scampi Salad:

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sweet baby onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
  • salad greens
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

Steps:

  1. Rinse the shrimp under sold water, pat dry and set aside.
  2. Place the asparagus in a pot of boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Remove the asparagus and place in a bowl of ice water (this will stop the cooking process and you have just par-boiled the asparagus).
  3. In a medium saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the jalapeno pepper and garlic and saute 2 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and saute 5 minutes (or to desired doneness).
  5. Mound the salad greens onto serving plates. Sprinkle the baby onions over the greens. Frame the greens with the sliced tomatoes and lean the asparagus spears over the tomatoes.
  6. Place the shrimp atop the salad.
  7. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil and vinegar. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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