Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Salads

I love a good salad, but it can be difficult to find one that strikes the right balance. Some salads are too small, some are too heavy, and once in a while you find one that's just right. It's practically a culinary tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. That being said, allow me to introduce you to a delicious salad that you can enjoy all summer long. With red new potatoes, roasted red peppers, blanched green beans and grilled shrimp, it is light, satisfying and just right for any occasion.

Vegetable Salad with Grilled Shrimp (Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis' Warm Vegetable Salad)

For the Salad:

2 Roasted Red Bell peppers, sliced.
1 1/2 lb red new potatoes, halved and left whole in equal proportions
3/4 lbs green beans, trimmed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 lb grilled, ready-made shrimp ( You can find this in the deli section of your supermarket and it will save you loads of time)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

For the Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 T Champagne Vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
4 cloves of roasted garlic or 2 cloves of raw garlic (depending on your preference)
1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley
2 scallions, sliced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

For the Roasted Red Peppers:

Preheat the broiler on high. Clean the peppers with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil the peppers for 15-20 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes until they are black and blistered all over. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap for 15 minutes. This will loosen the skin, making it easy to remove later. Peel the charred skin off of the peppers, remove the seeds and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

For the Salad:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Add the potatoes. The original recipe cooks the potatoes for 10-12 minutes, but I cooked mine for 14 minutes. Just make sure they are fork-tender. Remove the potatoes from the pot and drain in a colander. Cover the colander with a clean kitchen towel for one minute to ensure perfectly cooked potatoes. This trick always works for me. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are bright green and crisp. Drain. Place the red peppers, potatoes, green beans, scallions and parsley in a large mixing bowl.

For the Vinaigrette:

Place all of the ingredients but the parsley and olive oil in a blender. Pulse the ingredients until they begin to come together. Turn the mixer off. Turn the mixer back on and slowly add the olive oil until the dressing comes together and emulsifies. After the dressing is ready, toss the salad with a little less than 1/2 of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. This salad does require a little extra salt and pepper, so adjust the seasonings accordingly. Cover the salad and set aside until you're ready to serve. Toss with the remaining dressing and garnish with parsley. Serves 4-5.


  1. Sounds delicious! I think I could sub some tofu for the shrimp...

    Did you see the new Saveur issue devoted to Texas food yet? Lots of fun...


  2. Hey Brian! Tofu would make an excellent substitute as well! I have seen the new Saveur in stores, but I haven't had a chance to snag a copy for myself! I'll definitely go pick one up!

  3. I love summer salads as well, especially those with fruit. If you wanted to expirement, one of the best salad's i've ever had was a shrimp mango salad wiht a lime cilantro dressing. I dont actually have the recipe - i had it in a restaurant once and have been trying to recreate it ever since. :)

  4. Oooh that sounds fabulous! I will definitely have to try that out!