Greek Shrimp and Olive Salad with Lemon Dressing
Courtesy of Laurie Constantino
Adapted from a recipe by Ellen Pavlakos, ‘The Greeks Have a Word Recipe For It,’ by the Philoptochos Society of St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church (Melbourne, Florida 1981)
1 lb shrimp, preferably Alaska spot or side-stripe shrimp
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced into thirds
1 cup Greek green olives, pitted and sliced into thirds
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8-10 cups mixed greens, including arugula, spinach, watercress, Belgian endive, radicchio, Romaine lettuce, dandelions, or other edible green
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, both white and green parts
1 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
1 cup diced red bell pepper or ripe tomato, 3/4” dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts*
Greek Shrimp and Olive Salad is perfect fare for long summer days when the cook wants to be outside instead of in the kitchen. It’s packed with flavor, simple to make, and very flexible. Use the freshest greens available from the garden or farmers markets, singly or in combination. Don’t have two kinds of olives? Use one. No red pepper? Use tomato. No lemon juice? Pull out the white wine vinegar. Can’t afford pine nuts? Use walnuts or slivered almonds. Cold-water spot or side-stripe shrimp are juicier and more flavorful than Southeast Asian farmed shrimp, but any shrimp will do. For no-fuss entertaining, make most of the recipe early; dress greens just before serving to prevent soggy salad.
Make Topping: Bring large pot of salted water to rolling boil. Stir in shrimp and turn off heat. Remove shrimp from water as soon as they’re cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. If using large shrimp, cut into 2-3 pieces. Toss shrimp and olives in bowl with 1/4 cup lemon dressing.
Make Lemon Dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Assemble Salad: Mix greens, green onions, parsley and basil in large bowl. Lightly salt chopped tomatoes and set aside. (Recipe may be made ahead to this point.)
When ready to serve, mix greens with 1/4 cup lemon dressing. Taste and add more dressing, salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Spread out dressed greens on serving platter. Mound topping over dressed greens and arrange red pepper or tomato around edge of platter. Sprinkle toasted nuts over salad.
NOTE: Toasting pine nuts brings out and concentrates their flavor. It also requires caution; pine nuts burn very easily. The quickest and easiest way to toast pine nuts is in a dry skillet but, if you walk away from the skillet, pine nuts have a 95 percent chance of burning (I know this from painful personal experience). To oven-toast nuts, preheat oven to 350°F, put pine nuts on baking sheet, and bake for 5-7 minutes, stirring nuts every 2 minutes.