Let’s Do Lunch: Garlicky Shrimp Avocado Sandwiches
It’s been far too long since the last Let’s Do Lunch post. Let’s remedy that, shall we? This long lag has not been intentional. I’ve tried a few new lunch ideas that seemed promising but didn’t quite meet the mark. But this…this so did. It’s funny how my former deep dislike of avocado is slowly shifting, all because of my beloved guacamole. At first it got me thinking I was instantly converted, and I was a bit overzealous. I tried a few very avocado-y recipes, including these awesome looking tartines from Tara. Any avocado lover would adore them. My whole family did. But I learned, I’m not quite there. I need something to cut the avocado. Like tortilla chips. Or, in the case of this fabulous sandwich, a slice of good quality crusty bread and some spicy garlicky shrimp. Now we’re talkin’.
One of the best things about this sandwich is that it is great warm or cold, so you can enjoy it fresh during a casual lunch at home or packed up and eaten on the go at work. Either way, this is sure to become a favorite go-to lunch option for me. It’s light and healthy while still being flavorful and totally satisfying. Pea shoots are a nice garnish and add another layer of flavor, but sprouts would work just as well. This is going into heavy rotation for me, effective immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 slices crusty artisan bread, such as sourdough
10-12 oz. medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing
¾ tsp. red pepper flakes*
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pea shoots or sprouts, for garnish
Preheat the broiler. Remove the pits from the avocados and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Coarsely mash with a fork. Add in the lime juice and salt and continue to mash until the mixture has reached your desired consistency.
Place slices of bread on a baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, and place underneath the broiler just until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cool briefly, then spread each slice of bread with an even layer of the avocado mixture.
Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the red pepper flakes and garlic to the oil. Let warm slowly, about 5 minutes, to infuse the oil with the flavors of the red pepper and garlic. After 5 minutes, increase the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Let cook until just pink on the bottom side. Flip with tongs and let cook about 1 minute more, just until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Toss lightly to coat well with the garlic oil. Let cool briefly. Layer the shrimp over the avocado spread on the sandwiches. Top each serving with a sprinkling of pea shoots or sprouts. Serve.
*In my experience, red pepper flakes vary widely in potency. Some are very mild while others pack a punch. If you are timid about spice, start with less and add more as you like. For me as written, this had mild spice.