Salads. Lots of us are craving them right now as we’re still coming off of a holiday eating frenzy. But, if you’re going to have a salad as a main meal, it had better be a darn good one, right? I discovered the appeal of great main dish salads when I had my restaurants. One of the most popular items on the menu was our Garbage Salad. Believe me, it was fully loaded with meats, cheeses, caramelized vegetables and oh, yes, somewhere in there was romaine. Well, I just stumbled upon another loaded-with-flavor salad that inspired me enough to write about and share with you! It’s a Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad with a creamy, dreamy pesto mayonnaise dressing. (You can substitute yogurt for the mayo!) This salad checks all the boxes for me. It’s got a little crunch, a smooth, creamy dressing and when you add jumbo shrimp, charred corn, ripe avocado, crisp bacon and sweet cherry tomatoes, you’ve got a winner all the way around! It’s kind of the salad version of a One Pot Wonder, because you use the same pan to char the corn, brown the bacon and cook the shrimp! The pesto dressing puts it over the top. With salads like this, we can make it through another year until sugar cookie platters and eggnog coax us into submission!
- 2 ears fresh corn, shaved off the cob
- 6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and rough chopped
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled with tails off
- 4 cups iceburg or romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or Pecorino cheese
- buttermilk pesto dressing (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (see note in recipe below for homemade)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch Salt and Pepper (to taste)
For The Salad:
For the Dressing:
- Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the corn kernels and let them dry-roast, stirring until their edges begin to brown and caramelize. Transfer the corn to a plate to set aside. Reduce heat to medium-high. In the same skillet, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the skillet. Add the shrimp and sauté until cooked and pink, about 2 minutes per side (depending on the size of your shrimp). Remove shrimp and set aside to cool. Make salad dressing. Assemble your salad by tossing together the lettuce, corn, bacon, shrimp, tomatoes, avocado and cheese. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
- Whisk together all ingredients until blended. Season with salt and pepper. *For homemade buttermilk, combine ½ cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stir to thicken.