Shrimp Salad Pizza

After eating fast food on our trip down to Ample Bites South we always want something light and tasty using seafood the first night, if at all possible. A new favorite is a pizza that is a salad and has spicy sauteed shrimp in it. Ample Bites calls this new creation Shrimp Salad Pizza. Warning! This not a traditional hot pizza. It is actually more of a salad … hence the “light and tasty” lead in.

The shrimp are accented with a fresh salsa using mango, tomato, zucchini, red onion and lime juice. An Asian dressing and sliced avocados join lettuce atop a pre-baked pizza crust. The crust soaks up the spicy, salty and acidic dressing and the sweet shrimp give the dish the seaside protein we desire.

This salad is best consumed with a wine, a margarita, or a cold Yuengling lager — or two.

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Shrimp Salad Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 2

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (size 41-50)
2 limes
1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, greens only, chopped, divided
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, divided
1/2 head Romaine lettuce, cleaned and spun dry, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 fresh mango, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 zucchini, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 avocado, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 pound shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared pizza dough, roughly 12-inches by 12-inches

To prepare the dressing: In a small mason jar, combine the garlic, jalapeno, about a quarter of the chopped green onion, rice vinegar, sesame oil, juice of 1 lime, and about a quarter of the cilantro. Cover and shake until combined. Set aside.

To prepare the salsa: Combine the mango, tomato, a quarter of the green onion and a quarter of the cilantro, zucchini and the juice of 1/2 a lime. Set aside.

Toss the shrimp in a few dashes of olive oil and the Cajun seasoning. Bring a medium skillet with oil up to temperature over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the shrimp and cook them, turning once, until they are cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Remove the shrimp to a plate and cover it with foil.

Preheat oven to 400F. Bake the pizza crust for 10 minutes until it is warm but still flexible.

To serve: Quarter the pizza crust. Place two pieces on each plate. Sprinkle the crusts with a generous portion of cheese. Top the crust with lettuce and the remaining cilantro and green onions. Divide the shrimp between the plates. Top the shrimp and salad with the salsa and sliced avocado. Drizzle with dressing, squeeze the remaining 1/2 lime over the serving plates, sprinkle with additional cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Italian Sausage and Chicken Soup

There are few better comfort foods than the classic chicken soup. Italian Sausage Chicken Soup kicks up the flavor a bit through the addition of Italian sausage.

Chicken soup can be made with carcasses of previously roasted chickens or a whole chicken. To get the most flavor into the soup stock use the whole chicken but remove the chicken halfway through the cooking process to keep the meat firm. This recipe also requires that the vegetable used in making the stock be removed because they will be soggy if they are left in for the entire cooking process.

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Italian Sausage and Chicken Soup
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

1 large whole chicken with most of skin and excess fat removed
4 carrots, halved and sliced crosswise
4 celery stalks, halved and sliced crosswise
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 32 oz. low-sodium, fat-free chicken stock
1 quart cold water
2 pounds Italian sausage (hot or mild)
3 carrots diced to 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch
3 celery stalks, diced to 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch
1 large zucchini, diced to 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2/3 cup small dry pasta or orzo

Combine the whole chicken, sliced carrots, sliced celery, onions, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, water and a dash of salt and pepper in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low and simmer partially covered for 2 hours. After one hour remove the chicken from the pot. Allow the chicken to cool and break into large pieces. Remove meat from the chicken and reserve. Place the bones and any skin back in the pot for the remaining hour.

While the soup is simmering, grill the Italian sausage over medium direct heat about 10 minutes total. Refrigerate the cooked sausage.

After 2 hours of simmering, remove any remaining meat from the chicken bones. Discard the bones and any skin from the stock. Carefully remove the onions, carrots, celery, thyme and garlic from the stock.

Add the reserved chicken and sausage with the diced tomatoes to the stock and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and the diced carrots, diced celery, zucchini and green beans. Add the dry pasta. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese and crusty warm bread.

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Spicy Citrus Chicken Thighs

This Ample Bites exclusive recipe is perfect for the grill. Spicy Citrus Chicken Thighs melds the sweet citrus flavor of orange juice and orange zest with spicy Sriracha. The recipe is simple. It requires about 4 hours of time to marinate the thighs in the refrigerator and about 20 minutes to grill them to a juice finish.

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Spicy Citrus Chicken Thighs
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin removed
2 large oranges
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbsp Sriracha
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large non-reactive bowl or a large zip-top plastic bag combine the thighs, juice and zest of the oranges, Sriracha and thyme. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill for medium high indirect grilling.

Remove thighs and shake any excess pulp from them. Allow the thighs to come up to room temperature before grilling. Season the thighs with salt and pepper to taste.

Grill the thighs for 8-10 minutes per side or until they are cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Shrimp and Garlic Pizza

Shrimp and Garlic Pizza is a very rich version of the Ample Bites Friday favorite meal. The shrimp, cheese, butter, parsley and, of course, garlic combine to create a unique and delicious pizza topping.

This dish was inspired by the Cooking Channel show My Grandmother’s Ravioli with Mo Rocca. On the show Sal Yonta, a Florida grandfather of Italian descent, prepares a large pie he calls Shrimp Scampi Pizza. The episode is very informative and quite funny. Sal and his brother are characters to say the least, as is Rocca.

This recipe can also be used to form a large rectangular pizza, which can be cut into 2-inch-by-2-inch squares for a great appetizer.

Shrimp and Garlic Pizza

Pizza Dough (see earlier posts for recipe)
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic, peeled
1/3 cup dry white wine at room temperature
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pats, at room temperature
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pound shredded part-skim mozzarella
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place baking steel or baking stone in oven and preheat to 500F.

To prepare the topping: Pulse the garlic in a food processor. Add the shrimp and pulse until the shrimp are coarsely chopped. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat bring the olive oil to a shimmer and then add the shrimp mixture. Saute for about 5 minutes, turning, until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the wine and stir. Add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the breadcrumbs and parsley and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Divide pizza dough into two pieces. Roll out the first dough ball and brush the edge with olive oil.

Place about one quarter of the cheese in the center of the dough leaving a rim of about 3/4-inch. Layer half of the shrimp mixture over the cheese, again leaving a rim of about 3/4-inch. Top the shrimp with another quarter of the cheese.

Bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serve hot.

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Mashed Cauliflower with Thyme

Mashed Cauliflower is a perfect, healthier side dish to serve in place of mashed potatoes. The recipe below includes a generous dose of fresh thyme but other herbs can be substituted depending on the cook’s preferences and the accompanying entree.

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Mashed Cauliflower with Thyme
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed, cored and broken into large florets
1/2 cup non-fat milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Steam the cauliflower florets until a steak knife can be inserted into the stem of the largest floret and easily removed, 8-10 minutes. Err on the side of over-steaming.

In a large bowl, combine the steamed cauliflower, milk and butter. Mash by hand and then, using an immersion blender, puree until nearly smooth. Add thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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