Since January 4, 2011, I’ve been actively watching what I eat in an attempt to not only lose excess poundage, but to get to my ideal weight and stay there. In the past two years I’ve managed to relinquish nearly 60 pounds.
Sure, I want to look better, but for once in my life what has really fueled my quest to weigh less has been my hope that I will be a healthier person as I age. Whenever I am researching women’s health, the constant is always that being overweight has a negative effect on everything from heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, to – you guessed it – cancer. Since I’ve had breast cancer twice, it just seems sensible to do what I can to eliminate this one area where I actually have some control.
In my search to find tasty foods that would enable me to stay the course, I discovered a wonderful online resource called Nina Cucina. What I love about this particular site is its dedication to simple recipes that are not only explained in detail, but when you put in the effort, deliver very tasty results. God knows I’ve suffered through my share of what were purported to be healthy meals that tasted like Styrofoam. Not on Nina Cucina!
Recently, I spoke with Nina Pucillo, the woman behind this innovative food site, to let her know just how much I appreciate her hard work. She has kindly offered to provide me with one great recipe idea each month so all of us will have the opportunity to explore the beauty of healthy and delicious cuisine.
I am going to share one recipe that caught my eye and delighted my taste buds. It’s a great summer offering that is sure to please any seafood lover. And, of course, where I’m concerned, if there’s prosciutto on board, I’m a happy camper. This recipe calls for green peppers and since my stomach is not happy when I eat them I substituted yellow. There is also jalapeno in the mix. If you don’t like spicy, you don’t have to add this. I experimented with the recipe and used mango instead of pineapple one time – and loved it. So please, feel free to play with your food!
Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
For The Shrimp:
2 Pounds Extra Large Wild Shrimp (8 -12 Count)
About 24 Large Organic Basil Leaves (One for each shrimp)
12 Pieces of Prosciutto, Sliced In Half
2 Tsp. Avocado Oil
For The Pineapple Salsa:
1 Ripe Pineapple
1 Green Pepper, Small Dice
1 Red Pepper, Small Dice
1/2 Cup Green Onions, Sliced, White & Tender Green Parts
1 Jalapeno, Minced
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Bunch Cilantro, About 1/4 Cup Chopped
Juice of 1 lime
What You’ll Need:
A Cast Iron Skillet
A Large Mixing Bowl
A Kitchen Spoon
Measuring Cups & Spoons
A Citrus Squeezer
A Sharp Knife
2 Kitchen Plates
A One-Cup Ramekin
How to Put It Together:
- First, core your pineapple, slice it into long strips and then chop it finely. Add the pineapple to your mixing bowl. Add your diced green and red peppers to the bowl. Then add your sliced green onions.
- Core the jalapeno, making sure to remove all the seeds. The seeds are the hottest part. Finely mince the jalapeno and add it to the bowl.
- Roll your lime a couple times on your work surface to release the juices inside. Cut the lime in half and using your citrus squeezer, squeeze the lime juice into the bowl. You should have about two tablespoons; if you have a particularly dry lime, feel free to use two. Add the sea salt to the bowl and stir the salsa well to get the lime and the salt throughout.
- Now start with your cilantro. Hold the bunch of cilantro by the stems with your left hand (if you are right-handed) and using a sharp kitchen knife just scrape off the cilantro leaves. This is the fast, easy way to remove just about any small leaf herb from its stalk. Discard the stalks and chop the leaves fairly finely. Add the cilantro to the bowl and give it one more stir. Set the bowl aside so that the flavors can marry while you wrap and cook your shrimp.
- Peel and devein your shrimp, leaving the tail piece on. Save the shells in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. They are wonderful for making stock for seafood soup.
- Lay a piece of prosciutto on your work surface and lay a basil leave on top. Place a shrimp on top and wrap the prosciutto around the shrimp and place it on your kitchen plate. Repeat the process with all of your shrimp.
- Preheat your cast iron skillet on medium heat. You will know that your pan is ready when you feel heat radiating from the pan while holding your hand about 1-inch above the pan surface. Now, add your avocado oil and swirl it around the pan. Add your shrimp, one-by-one. You will hear a sizzle and that’s what you want. Allow the shrimp to brown; it will take about 5 minutes. Turn the shrimp and brown them on the other side. Watch them carefully; the Cucina rule for cooking shrimp is when they form a ‘c’ in the pan, then they are cooked. If they progress to form an ‘o’ then they are overcooked. Remove the shrimp one-by-one to your kitchen plate, as they cook; some may cook more quickly than others.
- When all of your shrimp are done, you are ready to plate the dish. Place a dinner plate in front of you on your work surface. Fill a one cup ramekin half way with pineapple salsa and pat it down. Place the dinner plate on top of the ramekin so that the ramekin is in the center of the plate. With a firm grip, turn the plate and ramekin over and give it one firm shake. You will feel the salsa fall onto the plate. Put the plate back onto your work surface and remove the ramekin. Repeat this process with the other 5 plates. Arrange the shrimp in a pinwheel fashion, leaning up against the salsa. Serve and enjoy!
Feel free to add a side dish to accompany this delicious entrée. Anything from a nice summer garden salad to whole grain brown rice or even orzo will do the trick.
Here’s to our continued good health — with a hearty thank you to Nina! Yum!