Pan-Seared Shrimp with Mango, Cucumber & Peppadew Salsa

Like me, my mother runs her own business and lives outside the traditional 9-5 world.  Mondays have become her Saturday, and since I'm also in charge of my own hours, the two of us have taken to hanging out one or two Mondays a month.

We typically meet up around noon and spend the day running errands, working on projects, going to lunch, or simply just relaxing in my apartment catching up on things. On the days we stay in, I will usually prepare lunch. I make simple things like homemade vegetable soups or grilled chicken salads. This past week, we were both coming off a juice detox (my favorite Blueprint Cleanse, of course!) and so I decided to make something light. I found a package of frozen shrimp and within a few minutes had prepared the meal you see here--grilled shrimp topped with cucumber mango and peppadew salsa on a bed of organic baby spinach greens. It was so wonderful--fresh, light, sweet, and spicy-- and it literally took me about 15 minutes, from conception to plating.

I repeated this dish a few times since then, swapping out the grilled shrimp for chicken with equally delicious results, and then turning the shrimp and salsa into soft tacos on another occasion. I love the Peppadew peppers in this salsa as they add a beautiful sweet heat to the dish, but if you don't have any, you can substitute roasted red peppers and perhaps one or two teaspoons of pickled jalapenos just to get that heat. (If you're curious about Peppadew peppers, check out this post I wrote about them a couple years ago--plus the accompanying delicious peppadew, peach & feta salad.)

The salsa is so good that I'm sure it would be perfect to serve on its own with chips, or over other types of seafood (like this pan-seared tilapia) or perhaps even grilled skirt steak. The salsa keeps well in the fridge for about 10 days (it actually gets better the longer it sits), so feel free to make a big batch and try it on different foods throughout the week.

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Pan-Seared Shrimp with Mango Cucumber & Peppadew Salsa
Serves 4 as a light lunch

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For the mango salsa
1 large ripe mango, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 large cucumber, diced into 1/2" cubes (no need to peel)
1/2 cup Peppadew peppers (or substitute roasted red peppers), coarsely chopped
1 small red or white onion, finely diced
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 large limes
1 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the shrimp
1 pound large frozen and thawed or fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, as desired)
Zest and juice of 1 large lime
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for cooking
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (or substitute chili powder)
Kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound baby spinach, washed
Lime wedges for serving

First make the salsa. In a large bowl, combine the diced mango, diced cucumber, chopped Peppadew peppers, diced onion, and cilantro. Toss to distribute. Add the lime juice and hot sauce and toss again to coat evenly. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside. (The salt will draw out the natural juices from the ingredients so that the flavors will start to mingle.)

Place the spinach in a large bowl, then make the shrimp. Preheat a cast iron griddle pan or other heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. While the pan heats, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, olive oil, paprika, and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat and let sit will the pan heats up. When ready, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then use tongs to pick up the shrimp and add to the pan in small batches, making sure not to overcrowd. Let cook about 1-2 minutes on one side until slightly charred, then flip and cook the other side. When ready, remove from the pan and add to the bowl with the spinach. Repeat until all the shrimp are cooked.

Stir the salsa and top off the shrimp and spinach with it (use as much or as little as you'd like). Toss to coat, taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve with lime wedges.

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