Friday, April 6, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Shrimp Pasta Salad

This salad is all about the shrimp. There's no denying that.

The pasta, though - I found this interesting curly shape and thought it would play well with the curve of the shrimp. Other shapes would be fine though.

The other star of this dish is mango vinegar. I love vinegars. I don't even want to think about how many vinegars I have - and that doesn't count the wine vinegar that I'm fermenting. So when I found this pretty orange mango vinegar, I had to have a bottle. And pairing it with the shrimp in a pasta salad seemed absolutely perfect.

I love it when I'm right. The vinegar was sweet, fruity, and tart. The shrimp loved it. It added just the right flavor to the pasta - which is usually the bland part of the dish - and it made the whole salad sing. Or zing, maybe. But it wasn't too tart. Just right.

Shrimp Pasta Salad

1/2 pound cavatappi pasta, cooked
1 pound cleaned, cooked, and shelled shrimp
1/4 cup mango vinegar
1 rib of celery, finely diced
1 carrot, julienned
1 roasted red pepper, peeled, cored, seeded, and diced
2 small cucumbers, sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Several grinds white pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chives, sliced thin

As soon as the pasta is cooked to your liking (but please leave a little chew to it - flabby pasta in a pasta salad isn't great) rinse it quickly in cold water, then add half of the vinegar (2 tablespoons) and toss it. While the pasta is still slightly warm, it will absorb that flavor, which is what you want.

Add the rest of the ingredients, give it a toss, and refrigerate until the pasta has chilled. Taste for seasoning, and adjust.

Personally, I think this is better the next day, after the flavors have mingled but it's perfectly fine right after it has been combined.

If you like a tarter salad, add more vinegar. And of course, salt and pepper are always to taste.

For more information about Whole Foods Friday, see the tab at the top.