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Applebee's Grilled Shrimp N' Spinach Salad

  • 4 servings
  • Mins
    Prep Time
  • Mins
    Cook Time

Here's a great Top Secret Recipe version of Applebee's salad. MENU DESCRIPTION: " Fresh spinach tossed with tomatoes, red peppers, onions, almonds and topped with grilled shrimp. Served with bacon vinaigrette." A perfectly sweet and sour concoction packed with bits of real bacon. Medium shrimp are sprinkled with a secret seasoning blend, then grilled and arranged on top of the two large dinner-size salads this recipe yields. You can also split these up to serve four smaller side salads. There will be extra vinaigrette, so by adding a bit more spinach, you can even stretch this recipe to serve six when that couple who never calls ahead shows up unexpectedly on your stoop at chow time.


Bacon Vinaigrette:
½ cup light olive oil
¼ cup finely minced cooked bacon (3 or 4 slices)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon cornstarch
teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon course ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
Shrimp Seasoning:
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground (rubbed) sage
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
20-24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T butter, melted
¼ cup sliced almonds
16 cups fresh spinach
½ cup diced tomato (1 large tomato)
½ cup sliced red onion
¼ cup sliced roasted red bell pepper
(See Tidbits)
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Bacon Vinaigrette: Combine bacon with 1/4 cup of oil (that's half of the oil) in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and when it begins to bubble, set your timer for 1 minute. After a minute, remove the pan from heat and let it cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in the vinegar and whisk the mixture into the oil and bacon, along with the sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of oil into the saucepan while whisking. Cover and chill dressing (it will thicken as it chills). 2. Shrimp: Preheat barbecue grill to high. Combine shrimp seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Mix this blend with your fingers to break up klumps of sage. Pierce 6 shrimp on each skewer. Brush the shrimp with melted butter and sprinkle a little of the seasoning blend on both sides. Grill skewered shrimp for a couple of minutes on each side, or until they are done. 3. Toast the sliced almonds in a medium saucepan over medium heat until golden brown. Toss the almonds often so that they don't burn. 4. Build each dinner salad by tossing 8 cups of spinach with 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup red onion, 2 tablespoons roasted red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, and 3-4 tablespoons vinaigrette. Toss gently so that you don't bruise the spinach. Arrange the tossed salad on a serving plate, then remove the grilled shrimp from the skewers and place 10-12 shrimp on top. TIDBITS: Roast a red bell pepper by placing it directly on the stove over a high flame. Rotate the pepper as it chars until all of the skin is blackened and then plunge the pepper into an ice water bath or seal it in a plastic zip-top bag. After a few minutes, you can easily remove all of the blackened skin, and then slice the pepper. You can also roast the pepper in preheated 425 degrees fahrenheit oven. When the skin blister, use the bag or ice water bath to remove the skin. Alternatively, you can buy bottled roasted peppers, but I think fresh is a much better way to go. Because this is a rather cooking intensive recipe with the need to focus on each step to avoid burning and mass destruction, et cetera, I did pre-recipe work like toasting the almonds ahead, mixing up the shrimp seasoning, skewering the shrimp on skewers, and so on. That way, you can proceed with this recipe just like the cooks do on TV with their little already done prep bowls magically filled with the right stuff.

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