Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad

I don't know about where you live, but here in eastern Pennsylvania it's pretty brutal outside.  The high temperature and choking humidity are almost enough to make me spend extra hours at work, if only to avoid becoming a wilty mess by the time I get to my car.  Almost!  I said almost. 

I'll be honest, food almost does not appeal to me when it's this hot.   (Again, I said almost.  Let's not get crazy.)  And I guess Dairy Queen doesn't deliver...right?  

While the thought of ice cream for dinner is shamefully appealing, what kind of "cook" would I call myself if I let this little heat situation get the best of me?  

Sigh.  Why must I turn the most mundane things into self-challenges?

To quote my life-long friend Helen:  Oh heeeeeeeeey!  Salad it is!  (Have I totally lost you?)

I tore this recipe out of this month's issue of Cooking Light Magazine.  By the way, have I discussed this culinary reading material with you yet?   If not, you should know that it's an excellent source for quick, easy, healthy, satisfying, delicious recipes.  It has been this magazine (combined with unquestionable natural talent) that got me interested in cooking regularly, and never an issue goes by that I don't find several new things to try.  Some are winners, and some are giant losers... ah but such is life. 

This salad was a winner.  It was a cool, crisp, refreshing meal, with just the right amount of protein and crunch to be highly satisfying, and nothing to weigh you down.   I may not even need ice cream for dessert, at this rate.  See how realistic things like that sound on paper?

Cook's note:  This recipe calls for making your own roasted red peppers.  If you have the time, I don't recommend skipping this step.  Bottled roasted red peppers are totally fine, but sometimes they add an acidic flavor that I like to avoid when there are so few other ingredients in the dish.  Personal preference. 

Also, a big thank you to Joane, for sharing her secrets with me on how to take not-so-terrible pictures without my D-SLR!   Things are lookin' up.

Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Yields approximately 4 servings

1 red bell pepper
4 c arugula or other salad greens, lightly packed
1/2 c red onion, thinly sliced
1 (15oz) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray
1 lb peeled, deveined medium shrimp

Preheat the broiler to high.

Halve the red pepper length-wise, and remove the seeds and membranes.  Place the halves, skin side up, on a baking sheet, and broil for 12 minutes, or until blackened.  Once black, seal the peppers in a zip-lock or paper bag, and let them steam for 5 minutes.  The skins can now be easily removed from the peppers.  Discard the skins and slice the peppers.

Don't be scared!  This is normal!
Combine bell pepper, arugula, red onion, and beans in a large bowl, and toss to mix.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine lemon zest, juice, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and salt/pepper, whisking to stir.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper, and add to the skillet.  Cook for 2 minutes per side, or until opaque.  Do not overcook the shrimp!  It gets rubbery when overcooked, and will lead to unhappy faces.  When done, add the shrimp and the lemon juice mixture to the salad and toss to combine.

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