Story last updated at 10/9/2013 - 1:28 pm
September was a whirlwind of travel and events for me. I went to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, to a work event in Bellingham, Wash., and most recently to a conference in Fort Wayne, Ind. I don’t think I ever unpacked my suitcase completely the whole month. But, it was worth it. I got to see some wonderful sights, meet great people, and eat some spectacular food. I remind you all of the now legendary corn hog and pork chop on a stick.
Now that I’m home for a while, I’m hoping to return to the eating healthy regimen. I find it very hard to be disciplined in my eating when traveling. All these scrumptious delicacies are presented to me looking ever so tasty. This was particularly true during my recent trip to Fort Wayne. The greatest temptation was a wine and chocolate pre-dinner gathering. Yep, sangrias and gourmet chocolates. It would be rude not to participate, right?
The other side effect of travel is the post-trip exhaustion. I got home last night about 9:30 p.m. and I was done in. I went to bed without dinner and slept like the proverbial log. Tonight is a different story. I have to eat, and I’ve eaten out a lot so I needed to cook something. I decided on an old standby, salad. Salad is a fairly simple to make dish and can have a lot of variety. There are pasta salads, green salad, cold salads, warm salads, all vegetable salads, and some with meat — the possibilities are endless. The downfall of salads, when one is quite tired, is the chopping. I don’t want to chop a dozen items to toss together. Nor is it safe for a bleary-eyed traveler to handle sharp objects. In that vein, I decided to keep it simple. Only four ingredients and I was eating a delicious, healthy, and filling meal.
A few years ago, I made this salad for Grant, who thought it was the most ingenious recipe ever. Since that time, I’ve seen variations of it on cooking shows and on restaurant menus. I am sure I didn’t invent it, but my variation is made in about 15 minutes, which makes it perfect for a quick Thursday night meal.
The mystery salad is grilled romaine lettuce with grilled (or roasted) shrimp. The longest process of the recipe is ensuring the shrimp are peeled. If you can buy the already peeled variety, then you’re looking at about 10 minutes, start-to-finish. Now that’s fast food.
The trick to the grilling of lettuce is how it is cut. I use romaine hearts and cut them lengthwise down the middle. Peel off any outside layers that don’t look too fresh and trim the top if you feel it’s necessary. Place it on a hot grill for 30-45 seconds and snap! You have dinner. Grill the shrimp for a couple of minutes, until cooked through, toss on top of the lettuce, and add a little oil and vinegar. Shrimp are very low in calories and if you use a good extra virgin olive oil, you’ll be eating the good fat. Which means you can eat your fill and be eating healthy.
This week I present a recipe that is perfect for someone who has no desire to cook, but who would still like to eat: Grilled Romaine and Shrimp Salad. Add some Parmesan cheese or other ingredients if you have the inclination or energy.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE AND SHRIMP SALAD
2 heads romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and tails removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on cut side of lettuce. Place face down on grill and cook for about 30-45 seconds, until charred. Remove to serving platter/bowl. Toss shrimp in oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes until cooked thoroughly. Remove from grill and add to lettuce. Drizzle a tiny bit more olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Adjust amounts according to your tastes. Salt and pepper and serve warm.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@