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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Advanced Pantry - Fridge Staples and Frozen Shrimp


A large part of successful home cooking is having things around. I didn't grow up in a household that kept parsley, shallots or capers on hand, but my daughter did. When preparing simple food, little things make a huge difference. Using shallots instead of onions is one example. Adding a bright pickle, such as capers can make something simple pop with flavor.

This salad was a quick, weeknight meal, and superbly satisfying. When we talk about a pantry, most people will think of things like rice, beans, pasta or canned goods. There are certain fresh items that have a similar place in my kitchen - ever present and reliable. All of the veggies for this salad hold up pretty well too. I didn't have lettuce in the house on this day, but didn't miss it at all.

Here is the pantry roll call that made this salad possible on short notice. Note the flavor super stars in bold:

From the Fridge...
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 of a shallot, sliced thin
1 big handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
1 tsp. capers

The Dressing...
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed

From the Freezer...
1 cup frozen shrimp, thawed (Thaw these quickly in luke warm water while assembling the salad.)

From the Cupboard...
2 tbsp. toasted pepitos

Toss the salad. Shake the dressing. Dress the salad. Top with pepitos. Eat well.

So, when buying fresh veggies, be not afraid! They will not go bad if you just dress them up and invite them to dinner!

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