Monday, August 25, 2008


August might be a hot month in this area, but it is also the month when the harvest really starts to come in...corn, tomatoes, summer squash, pears, late blackberries, early apples, peppers, late strawberries and more. So many possible things to create with in the kitchen! Along with grilled zucchini, steamed corn on the cob, fruit salads, roasted peppers with onions and mushrooms (a great condiment with grilled sausages) and strawberries with yogurt and honey,

we have been having all manner of salads, but two stand out in recent days. Both are juicy!

The first is a fine plate of ripe, juicy, local tomatoes, lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sprinkled with shreds of fresh basil. For those not allergic, it is the essence of summer.

The second was perfect for a warm summer evening. It's also great when you are busy (as I have been) because you put it together and marinate everything but the lettuce for a couple of days. What you get is a big bowl of cool shrimp, mixed with tangy red onions, juicy oranges, all of it flavored robustly with a zesty marinade that includes lemon, red wine vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed and the kick of some dried red pepper flakes. After I drained off the marinade, this wonderful mixture went into a bowl which I'd lined with the better part of a head of butter lettuce. This one should be served with plenty of napkins...messy but the best shrimp you'll ever taste. My thanks goes to my friend Pam, an excellent cook, who gave me the recipe.
Shrimp, Onion and Orange Salad can even go to a picnic if you make sure to keep the shrimp mixture good and cold.

Hands Down Best Shrimp Onion & Orange Salad
Based on a recipe from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook

1 large sweet red onion, halved, sliced thinly, and separated into half rings
1 ½ pounds shrimp – cooked, shelled and deveined (with tails left on)
4 oranges, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 ½ cup oil
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup wine vinegar
1/3 cup catsup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bed of lettuce leaves (optional)

Combine onion rings, shrimp and orange wedges in a large glass or ceramic bowl (or large resealable bag).

Mix together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, catsup, sugar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and parsley. Pour over shrimp mixture and marinate 24-48 hours (48 hours is better!) in the refrigerator.

At serving time, drain off the marinade and serve the shrimp, onions and orange wedges. Looks nice served on a bed of lettuce, but for close friends just pile on a platter. (Include a small dish to hold the discarded tails.) Provide plenty of napkins. Serves 4 - 6


  1. Yum - instead of strawberries, we've been doing blueberries with that dollop of Greek yogurt and honey or brown sugar. Tasty!

    I've never met anyone allergic to basil! Shrimp yes, basil, no. That would be a serious bummer, because outside of Greek salads, the basil-tomato-mozzarella things is my all-time favorite. It's almost not summer without it.

  2. Juicy is right! I love your photos and the shrimp salad looks so tasty!

  3. I have been eating at least one tomato a day, just sliced and sprinkled with sea salt. But I'll have to try your way - it sounds delicious! In fact, it all sounds delicious!

  4. Oohh, nice red strawberries. We had one good last crop this time around.

  5. Those tomatoes look so sweet and juicy I just want to bite into them. I'm drooling here man :)