I was perusing through the pages of Cooking Light online the other day when I came across this column discussing the art of creating a radically simple vinaigrette. Vinaigrette, in my most humble of opinions, is a seriously powerful tool to have in your kitchen arsenal. Simply grab some oil, add in a bit of acid and you’ve done it. Want an Asian salad dressing? Use sesame oil and rice vinegar. Add in a little soy sauce and lime juice and you’re ready to dress. Looking for a more classical Italian? Change the sesame oil to olive, the rice vinegar to white wine vinegar and throw in a basil leaf or two and some mustard. Presto chango, you’re ready to dress. It kind of makes you wonder why you’d ever buy a bottle at the grocery store when it’s so easy to put one together in your own kitchen.
And why limit yourselves to salads? Vinaigrette works wonders on meats, pastas, veggies and in some instances, even dessert. They make excellent marinades and add taste-pleasing healthy flavor to pretty much any meal they encounter. What’s not to love?
After reading the article, I was inspired to whip up my own vinaigrette inspired dish. I had a pile of strawberries in need of a home and a pound of cooked shrimp in my freezer. Shrimp and strawberries? Why the heck not.
To put the this pasta dish together, you first need to spin up a…. you guessed it, vinaigrette. Blend together a pour of champagne, a little olive oil, some strawberries and a few other incidentals. Season with salt and pepper and the dressing is ready.
Set it to the side and grab up a large bowl; it’s time to assemble ( I told you this was simple)! Along with a little cooked pasta I dropped in a few onions, almonds, cucumbers, avocado hunks and strawberries.
Drop in your shrimp and then drizzle the vinaigrette over the top.
Gently toss the dressing into the salad, salt and pepper it to a delicious finish and then top with a generous amount of crumbled goat cheese. Add a few lemon slices if desired to squeeze over your finished dish.
So what do you say? Have I sold you on all the wonderful merits of vinaigrette?
Shrimp Pasta with Strawberry Champagne Vinaigrette
Total Time: 30 min
For the Champagne Dressing:
1/4 Cup Champagne
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp White Vinegar
3 Strawberries, Roughly Chopped
4-5 Basil Leaves
1/2 tsp White Sugar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
For the Salad:
8 Oz. Pasta, Cooked
1 Pound Cooked Shrimp
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
1/2 Cucumber, Quartered
1 Avocado, Cubed
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
5-10 Strawberries, Sliced
3 Oz. Goat Cheese
Lemon Slices for Garnish
Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and spin until smooth.
Salt and pepper to taste.
To a large bowl add the pasta, shrimp, onion, cucumber, avocado, sliced almonds and strawberries.
Toss in the salad dressing. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Sprinkle the goat cheese across the top and garnish with lemon slices for squeezing over pasta.
Note: This dish is best if served the day it is made.