Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shrimp Layered Salad

Blog's Category: My Staple Food

Shrimp Layered Salad

This must be my Eastern European roots talking in me when I crave the type of salads that are layered and each layer smudged with a good amount of mayonnaise. There are several known salads like this: "Seledka pod shuboi" (translated as "herring under fur coat"), or "Belosnezhka" (translated as "Snow White"), or "Mimoza" (named by the flower Mimoza). Honestly I can't imagine not having at least one of these layered mayonnaise-y goodness at any of my holiday feasts, it just has to be there.
Shrimp Layered salad recipe below is a new variation of "Mimoza" salad I mentioned above. I took an idea of it from Mimoza salad discussion on one of Russian cooking forums. Salad has come out great, I could probably give it a name like "Shrimp in a cloud" or something even more romantic but decided to name it descriptively "Shrimp Layered Salad".
I guess I hear voices against mayonnaise.. But really, why good quality mayonnaise in moderate quantities would be bad for you, not to mention homemade one? Really...

- It could be tons of variations, like replacing shrimp with crab meat or even canned fish; or eliminating whole layer (carrots or apples). But it would be another salad, right? So, I would recommend to make it "as-is" and next time use your creativity to improve or adjust it to your own taste or preferences. 

Taste Description
The salad is extremely "cloudy", light and fluffy, not just in texture but in taste also. There is no sharp flavors, or spices in it - it's all about nuances and undertones for delicate palates. It's a test for sensitivity of your taste buds if you will :) I'm certain though you will love it.

How to Serve
We serve this type of salad, as part of holiday' feast, on a large plate and use serving spoon for guests to self-serve. It's also can be served with crackers as layered torte, which may be the most appropriate name for this dish instead of salad. But traditionally we call it salad. 

Shrimp Layered Salad

For a 12"x12" plate: 

2 lb raw shrimp, deveined, then cooked and peeled
7 hard-boiled eggs, cooled
4 large carrots, peeled, cooked in water and cooled down
8-10 oz queso blanco cheese (or mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar)
5 large granny smith apples
30oz good quality mayonnaise (most likely you are not going to use all of it)

- First, some preparation work:
         - process cooked and peeled shrimp briefly to get them somewhat crumbly. Set aside.
         - cut hard-boiled eggs in half and separate whites from yolks. Set aside.
         - cut apples in quarters, then peel and core them. Set aside.
         - spoon in all mayonnaise from a jar to a plastic sandwich bag, cut one of the corners about 4mm from the corner, twist the opposite corner up and set aside.

- Now the fun part - assembling the salad:
          - distribute crumbled shrimp in a even layer, don't tap it down, let all layers be light and fluffy.
          - squeeze a mayo over in a net pattern
          - using microplane, grate egg whites layer right on top of mayonnaise. Using fork, gently distribute grated whites evenly.
          - make a layer of mayo net
          -  using the same microplane, grate cooked carrots over the previous layer and use fork to distribute gently carrots in an even layer.
          - add a mayo layer
          - holding the same microplane over the salad, grate queso blanco and, with a fork, spread this layer carefully all over the salad.
          - add a mayo layer
          - with a same microplane, grate apples. While grating, hold microplane all over the salad trying to get grated apples in a different spots on a salad. Apple layer is wet enough by itself, thus no need for mayo layer this time.
          - again, using the same microplane, grate egg yolks over the salad and then distribute them evenly without pressure trying to keep airy structure of the salad.
          - add a final pretty net of the mayo on the top and you've done!
          - cover the salad with a plastic wrap (or two) and keep in a refrigerator up to 6 hours until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Use a good quality plastic bag to make sure it won't blow up when you'll be squeezing it.

Carrots will give your salad nice sweetness. Do not worry about "cooked carrots taste" - you won't taste it, really.

I adore this cheese (try to fry it and put on a toast for breakfast!). It is the perfect fit for this salad because its mild, delicate, slightly salty taste and firm texture. But feel free to use other cheese - in fact, I can't wait to try this salad with parmesan as a substitute for queso blanco.

..beautiful white fluffy cloud...

Do not worry about apples becoming dark from oxidation, just hurry up with a grating :)

No need to be very accurate making your mayo netting - random pattern brings even more sophistication in your mayo drawing :)

The best part - testing... Guilty - I've made two batches to have one extra plate for "insiders consuming" for the "after-holiday" morning. I just knew that guests may not leave any leftovers behind :)

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