Thursday, 15 June 2017

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

My mother owned this white denim, L.A. Gear jean jacket in 1989. It was lined with graffiti print fabric on the inside, had L.A. Gear written in pink, carpet-like script on the back, and had blue jewels instead of buttons. It is the jacket that Coachella dreams of. I would do just about anything to get that jacket back and wear again. (If you want to see the jacket, find it here.)

She was basically the Kim Kardashian West of the 80's. There was the jean jacket, and there was this salad. She served this shrimp and avocado salad IN an avocado shell. This was before avocados were A Thing, when avocado toast was just a twinkle in the eye of all of us Millennial toddlers. This was obviously WAY before lattes in avocado shells, and my mum was on the cutting edge of all of this.

Do you remember your parents' dinner parties growing up? The few stolen hours before you got sent outside or to the basement to play, when you always felt more grown up that you usually did? I remember that. I remember how thrilling that day was, the drama of the cleaning, the meal prepping, the extra fun plans to entertain the children after everyone ate.

And my mum's parties were so elegant. The first dinner party I remember was when I was about five. Picture Arizona in 1990, all bleached pine and glass; silk and sequins. We had this dining room set that had peach chairs, which matched the southwest print on the couch, and we had teal accents to make that peach pop. My mum would fold the linen napkins into beautiful fans, which would stand up on the terra cotta plates on our big glass dining room table. I remember thinking that our table looked like a magazine set.

The first course at this dinner party was vichyssoise obviously, because this was Phoenix, and it was 1990, and what else would you serve besides a cold and delicious soup? The second course was this shrimp salad, and it blew my mind. When my mum brought out the plates with the baby shrimp tucked in with the avocado into their little DIY bowls, I was convinced my mother was a Demi-God, that no other homemaker could rival this level of creativity and innovation.

Of course, there was this other woman, and her name was Betty Crocker, and she did know her shit too. But she didn’t matter to a five year old Bailey Reid, only my mum did, and only my mother would think to put the avocado salad IN the avocado shell.

I thought of it again this week, because there was a heat wave and i couldn’t bring myself to turn my oven on. I revamped this recipe only slightly, to make it just a bit more new millennium than 1989, but if you want to go full 80’s, skip the ring and pop this back in the shell. (Or is the shell more 2017 now, and the ring is like, totally 2013? I don’t know. Forever 21 sells the wardrobe for 1995’s 90210 now, so I don’t really know what’s cool anymore.)

Here’s what you need:
  • 1 bag baby shrimp, pre cooked, tails off and shelled. To serve 2 people, I would use ¼ of the bag. (Don’t try to update this, some things are just right as they are)
  • Avocado (½ per person)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (or mayo, if you want the 80’s version)
  • ¼ cup diced cucumber
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of Old Bay

All you do is mix your ingredients in a bowl, and then chill. Plate it how you feel… but be warned that popping it back into the shell may result in a love of bleached pine and stucco walls.

Being part of my parents’ dinner parties as a child are some of the best memories I have. But I couldn't tell you what the rest of that particular meal was. I can only remember this super fresh salad on a plate, how delicious it was, and how beautiful my mum looked in that L.A. Gear jacket.