This is taking the surf ‘n’ turf concept to the next level, folks — we’re bringing together the darlings of the surf (shrimp) AND the turf (bacon). And it only takes 10 minutes to throw all of this together if you have some pre-cooked bacon on hand. Even if you have to cook the bacon, you’re only adding about 15 minutes of hands-off oven time. Far simpler than dealing with steaks and lobsters, and frankly, this quickie version is tastier and less expensive. If you’re a grillmaster, by all means skewer the shrimp and grill it rather than sautéeing it as I’ve done here.
As is the case whenever you’re featuring meat and seafood on your menu, the key is quality. Be sure to get pastured bacon — see my Fav Foods tab for recommendations — and wild U.S.-caught shrimp. Not only is the (admittedly cheaper) shrimp grown on massive corporate shrimp farms in Thailand notorious for the damage it causes to the ecosystem, it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the U.S. alternative.
And one of the many bonuses of pastured bacon is that it isn’t injected with brine and therefore doesn’t spray fizzles of [brine mixed with] fat all over your kitchen. Whether you bake it or fry it, pastured bacon is no-mess bacon. I also like to keep the rendered bacon fat in a glass jar in the fridge to use as cooking fat for things like veggies and tortillas. Shrimp, too.
Shrimp & Bacon Salad
Serves 2. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
4 strips pastured bacon
4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 medium shrimp, preferably U.S. wild-caught, peeled and de-veined
Dash apple cider vinegar
Chopped Boston or Bibb lettuce (or Romaine if you’d prefer a crunchy lettuce bed)
If you’re using already-cooked bacon, chop the strips and place in a medium skillet. If you need to cook your bacon, preheat oven to 375F and get out an oven-safe wire rack and a baking sheet. Line the sheet with aluminum foil and set the wire rack on top of the foil. Lay the bacon strips out over the wire rack, spacing them equally apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crispy and curling at the edges. I like to pour the rendered bacon fat into a glass jar. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, using it whenever you’d like an insanely tasty cooking fat.
If you’re baking your bacon, after you’ve been baking it for 10 minutes, drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil into your medium skillet in lieu of the minced bacon. Add garlic and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and just starting to turn golden around the edges. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, flipping shrimp halfway through cooking. Shrimp will curl and turn opaque as it cooks. You can see if it’s done by cutting one in half and seeing if it’s completely opaque. Shrimp cooks quickly, though, so don’t walk away and leave it unattended! If you’re baking the bacon, it should be done right about now, too.
Pull shrimp off heat and drizzle a little apple cider vinegar into the pan to deglaze it. Serve shrimp atop chopped lettuce, crumbling cooked bacon onto it. If you started with cooked bacon, it will already be chopped and you won’t need to crumble it.
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