Thursday, August 5, 2010

The week so far in food

It feels like a slow week - maybe because I had an awesome weekend so anything else is a letdown.

My week started with an unexpected perk. I'm getting ready for work on Monday morning after blowing off my alarm clock and the gym when the husband comes upstairs to tell me that he didn't check his iPhone on Sunday night but his friend had texted him something along the lines of "dude, I left you something on your front porch". Sure enough, when my husband opened the front door, there was a little box for us from Premiere Moisson! The reason why this was so exciting to us is that it's a bakery (boulangerie) in Montreal that makes phenomenal pastries that haven't been recreated by any Boston-area bakery. (Incidentally, if I were to ever start a food business in Boston, it would be to either a) make real French pastries, or b) make real gelato, but I digress.)

It's very unusual to find a box of pastries from Montreal on one's doorstep in Boston, but this came to be when this friend announced via Facebook that he was in Montreal last week. I jokingly commented that he needs to bring back pastries from Premiere Moisson, and the Danoises (danishes) were my favorite. Well sure enough, that was the dropoff on Sunday night. Funnily the box wasn't touched by animals overnight (we have coons and possums in our area) so we were able to enjoy that pastry-goodness as an unexpected surprise to the start of the week.

Dinners have otherwise been pretty low key this week since we've been painting our stair banisters. I did have time to try this new recipe from Fine Cooking - grilled shrimp salad with feta, tomato and watermelon. I didn't marinate the shrimp in the lemon juice as per the directions since I didn't want to start cooking the fish with the acid, and I didn't bother with the paprika either - just plain grilled shrimp for us. It was the watermelon, tomato, feta and basil combination that was phenomenal - it was fresh and bright and totally exemplified summer eating. Because it's such a simple recipe, it will only be as good as the produce that's available so I need to make this a few more times before summer ends.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Feta, Tomato, and Watermelon
From Fine Cooking Magazine

1-1/2 lb. raw extra-jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per lb.), peeled (leave tail segment intact) and deveined

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. honey
Vegetable oil, for the grill
1/2 medium head frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
3 cups small-diced seedless watermelon (about 1 lb.)
3 medium ripe red or yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
2 cups yellow cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
6 oz. feta, cut into small dice (1-1/4 cups)
30 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

Prepare a hot gas or charcoal grill fire.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice and the paprika; marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes. Season the shrimp on both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice with the olive oil, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk well.

Clean and oil the grill grates. Grill the shrimp, flipping once, until firm and opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes total.

In a large bowl, gently toss the frisée with 3 Tbs. of the dressing. In a medium bowl, gently toss the watermelon, tomatoes, feta, basil, 2 Tbs. dressing, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Divide the frisée among 4 plates and spoon one-quarter of the watermelon mixture over each. Top with the shrimp skewers, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and serve.


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