Category Archives: Appetizers & Side Dishes

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Spring is finally in the air here in Denmark, which means that the entire population of Copenhagen is outside basically as often as humanly possible.  My boyfriend insists on wearing shorts 24/7 now that it’s not freezing, and because we live next to a park, it smells like BBQ pretty much nonstop.

Naturally, this means picnics are back in season, and we had our inaugural one of the year last Sunday on Islands Brygge, complete with some organic pølser.

Danes (and Americans) tend to gravitate toward the meat at picnics and BBQs, and so whenever one happens, I try to bring something sort of resembling a salad that people will actually eat (my subtle way of keeping my friends as healthy as I can).  As a rule of thumb, I’ve found that if you make salad with bacon in it, it becomes about 180 times more appealing to the general audience.

And thus, my new favorite (so easy it’s ridiculous) picnic salad:

BROCCOLI BACON SALAD

Like butter, bacon also makes everything better

INGREDIENTS:

  • One head of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small florets
  • One package of sliced organic free-range bacon (Irma sells this; look for the one with pictures of pigs roaming in grass on the front)
  • One small red onion, diced
  • 100-150 grams crème fraiche (add more or less to taste and depending on how large the broccoli head is)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Slice bacon into quarter-inch pieces.  Heat pan over low heat and once warm, add bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through (or to desired level of doneness).

In a bowl, mix onions, broccoli and cooked bacon “bits” with the crème fraiche.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

 

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Sautéed Shrimp with Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce

When my boyfriend cooks, he likes to use greek yogurt to simmer down his almost obsessive over-spicing of just about anything.  Last night’s dinner being a great example, he dumped about half a jar of cayenne pepper onto some sautéed chicken with onions and peppers, and finally added a dollop of greek yogurt (with smashed blueberries in it – yeah, I probably never would’ve thought of that either, but it was pretty good!) on the side to soften the blow of the cayenne.  While it all was wonderful (especially the part about me not having to cook), there’s a reason why I’m normally the one in the kitchen.  🙂 

Anyway, about ten times a year, I get a severe craving for shrimp.

About three times a year I get ambitious and motivated enough to actually make the shrimp myself.  I’ll either stumble upon a recipe, or hear someone talking about it, and then decide impulsively to go home and make us some shrimp.  This time I was reading about a Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce  (after experiencing B’s version with smashed blueberries and wondering what else you could do with yogurt) and how it goes well with sautéed shrimp on gourmet.com and, just like that, I was all kinds of sold on the idea.

Two hours later, I’ve finally finished shelling and deveining them (consider this your warning regarding prep-time).

You might be wondering why I didn’t buy de-shelled shrimp, so I’ll go ahead and confess this openly: I’m pretty cheap.  De-shelled shrimp is stupidly more expensive than shell-intact shrimp.  I also sort of take a sick pleasure out of doing things “the long way” even if it’s painful.  Finally, I haven’t found a place that sells uncooked de-shelled shrimp in Copenhagen yet.  If you know of a place, lemme know, because if I’m ever in a jam, dying for shrimp, but without 2 hours on my hands to de-shell them myself, I’d probably make use of that resource.  

The combination of cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, some cayenne, and greek yogurt in the sauce is sort of spicy and cooling at the same time, and the end result was exactly what I was going for tonight: something delicious that I can eat with my fingers (it’s been a long day).  This would be a great dish to serve as an appetizer at a party, because the shrimp can be served cold, and the greek yogurt sauce is still delicious at room temperature.  The greek yogurt sauce would also go really well with chicken skewers, which is probably what I’ll attempt to do with the leftovers tomorrow.

SAUTÉED SHRIMP with CILANTRO GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE

Best eaten under any circumstances, really.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups full fat greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves pressed garlic (you can finely chop if you don’t have a garlic press)
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste (I didn’t use any, because I didn’t think it needed it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1.25-1.5lbs shrimp (500 grams), shelled and deveined

Directions:

Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl and then stick it in the fridge for about a half hour so the flavors can blend.

While the flavors of the yogurt sauce are blending, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add shrimp and sauté evenly (about 3 minutes per side).  Season based on your preferences beforehand if you prefer a little zing (in the photo I have “marinated” the shrimp in a 4:1 blend of chili and garlic powders before sautéing).

Once the shrimp are done, remove the Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce from the fridge and enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings as an appetizer, or 4 servings as a main dish

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