From the archives: This is a perfect meal for a weeknd BBQ or Labor Day get together, and is quick and simple enough for a back to school night dinner. Enjoy with your family and friends!
Summer has finally rolled into our part of Texas, hopefully leaving the thunderstorms and driving rain that have been our constant companions since March behind us for a while. With the mercury rising rapidly, it was a perfect excuse to fire up the grill and go with a side dish that was on the cool side, perfect for a lazy 90 degree summer evening.
In this edition of Your Pantry or Mine, I’m highlighting the contents of tommiea’s pantry and what a list it was! I sat and thought for a while about this entry, both because dietary needs have shifted on my part, and because I wanted to give tommiea, who is also a military spouse, something inspiring and a bit special for the first of my forays into her larder.
This dish is perfect for a summertime get together or a warm night for two. The salad doesn’t have any mayonnaise, so it travels well, and is best served slightly chilled or at room temperature. The shrimp take just moments to cook and you can prepare it and have it waiting up to five hours in advance, so you can spread out the pre-cooking activities over the course of two days if desired, and if you’re going to take them along for a BBQ or other outdoor event, they can easily travel for several hours inside a zip top bag placed inside another zip top filled with ice. Just be sure that you seal the inner bag very well or the marinade will dilute.
- 1 15.8 oz. can great northern beans
- 1 15.5 oz. can light red kidney beans
- 1 15 oz. can black beans
- 1/2 of one large English (Hot House) cucumber (roughly 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes or 1 beefsteak tomato, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (For me, that’s a small handful pulled of a bunch of fresh cilantro)
- The juice of 1 1/2 – 2 lemons (approx 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. large (31-40 count) frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined (Tail on or off, your choice, in my case this was 16 shrimp)
- 1/2 bottle white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc from Crane Lake, but use what you like!)
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed, skin on
- 3 or 4 sprigs cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-4 tsp olive oil or melted butter
Drain and rinse all beans in a colander or sieve. In a large bowl, combine onion, cucumber, tomato and cilantro.
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano until well blended.
Add beans to large bowl, top with vinaigrette and toss very lightly to combine, using caution not to break up the beans. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
Toss salad gently, test for flavor and add salt or pepper as needed.
Store chilled for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
In a medium bowl, combine wine, chili powder, garlic, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add Frozen shrimp, making sure that all shrimp are covered well in mixture. place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until completely defrosted.
Soak several (6-8) bamboo skewers in water at the same time shrimp is placed in the fridge.
Remove shrimp from marinade and place on skewers. Heat grill to about medium high. Brush shrimp with olive oil or melted butter and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove shrimp from marinade and pat dry with paper towel to avoid splatters.
Sauté shrimp in a single layer over medium heat approx 2 minutes per side, or until just pink and cooked through.
Drizzle shrimp with lemon juice or brush with a tiny amount of melted butter mixed with a dash of chili powder and cumin.
Serve hot and enjoy.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
I forgot to drizzle the shrimp with olive oil before grilling, which made them a bit dry for my taste, and I’m not really familiar with this grill yet, so my heat was too low. If in doubt, simply sauté and serve neatly along with the salad.
If you’re not a cucumber fan, simply substitute celery. it will still add a nice bright flavor and texture to the salad.
If you’ve got some vegetarian friends at your event, simply substitute some grilled mushrooms, onions and peppers for the shrimp, the salad is completely vegetarian and lends itself well to a combination of preferences.