Topped with grilled Cajun shrimp, this Cajun Shrimp Chef Salad makes for one heck of a delicious summer meal!
Have you guys ever heard of a Diner en Blanc? It’s essentially a dinner party where you bring everything with you. And I mean everything. Tables, linens, food, candles, floral arrangements…the whole nine yards. And everything is white. Apparently this concept began back in the late 80’s in Paris, and the organizer set a public park as the venue. In order to know who the diners were, he asked everyone to wear white. Well, the concept took hold and is now repeated in cities throughout the world.
A Diner en Blanc has been organized in New York City for the last several years, and guests have numbered over 4,000. It’s a massive undertaking to organize that many people, but remember…everyone brings their own, well, everything. And diners go all out. I’m talking fancy white dresses for the ladies and white slacks and hats for the men. I’m talking fancy meals and elaborate floral and candle displays on your table.
A couple of weeks ago, our neighbors hosted a Diner en Blanc in their backyard. I had never heard of this concept before that, so I immediately googled it to figure out what was going on. My wife and I toyed with all sorts of fun ideas for our meal and table decorations…and in short it was an incredibly fun evening! Our neighbors were nice enough to supply the tables and linens (white, of course) along with a guitarist playing/singing classics from James Taylor, Paul Simon and even an R.E.M. song or two.
So what did we bring for our meal that night? Well, seeing that we live right next door, we realized that we had a unique advantage over the other guests. We have an electric fondue pot that I had gotten after college, and it’s been stashed in a bin in the basement for years. But this was the occasion to bring it out of retirement! The day of the event, I secretly ran an extension cord off of our deck, through the trees and into the neighbors’ backyard. Once everyone sat down for dinner, we pulled out our cheese fondue (I had made it ahead of time) and put it into our fondue pot. Yeah, that happened. It was the first time I’d ever dressed all in white and eaten fondue in someone else’s backyard. And I hope it’s not the last!
There were about 25-30 people at the party, and other guests brought along some of the most amazing meals. In particular, the couple sitting next to us had the most delicious looking chef salad. That got my mind whirring (and my tastebuds working overtime), and I decided to make a chef salad for dinner recently. Instead of going the traditional deli meat route, I grilled up some Cajun shrimp and created this Cajun Shrimp Chef Salad.
It might not have been served under candlelight in the backyard, but this salad was delicious! Bacon, hard-boiled eggs, swiss and pepperjack cheese, avocado, croutons…am I making you hungry yet? Then we topped it off with Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing. Not only are Newman’s Own dressings quite tasty, but they also give money back to charity for every bottle sold. Since 1982 (when the company first started), Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation has donated more than $430 million to thousands of charities. For me, that makes a huge difference. If I can pick up a tasty salad dressing and know that my purchase also helps a charity in need, then count me in!
For this Cajun Shrimp Chef Salad, we used lettuce that we are growing in our garden this year. We’ve only grown lettuce one other time, but the rabbits leveled it before we really got to eat it. This year, we fenced in our garden, and we’ve been enjoying fresh lettuce almost every night for dinner. If you’ve never grown lettuce, give it a shot…it’s actually very easy to grow! (Just make sure to fence the garden as rabbits love salads, too.)
Have you ever attended a Diner en Blanc?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Newman’s Own.
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