This classic New World salad seems as contemporary today as it must have when it was first developed. Regional cooks through the Americas have added their own personal touches, and, although the addition of mayonnaise is purely European, this combination is now an American tradition.
The recipe doubles easily and makes an unusual first course or side dish for the holiday.
Make Ahead: The dressing can be assembled and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Assemble the salad just before serving.
- For the shrimp
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 16 medium (31-to-40-count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- For the dressing
- 2 anchovy fillets, soaked in a little milk to remove some of the salt
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 lemon
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- For assembly
- 4 ripe avocados
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
For the shrimp: Combine the water, bay leaves, allspice, lemon and salt in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium-low and add the shrimp. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the shrimp are curled and just pink; do not overcook. Drain, and allow to cool completely.
For the sauce: Rinse the anchovy fillets, pat dry with paper towels, then mince. Combine the anchovies, parsley and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Place a strainer over the bowl and juice the lemon over the contents. Add the pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, and whisk to blend completely.
To assemble the salad, cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Use a large spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh. Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a mixing bowl, then add the cooled shrimp.
Fold in the sauce to coat evenly.
Arrange a bed of shredded cabbage in a wide, shallow serving bowl, then top with a mound of the shrimp and avocado salad.
Adapted from "Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions," by Fernando and Marlene Divina (Smithsonian Institution, 2004).
Tested by Monica Norton.
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