Thursday, June 3, 2010

Watermelon with Shrimp

Recipes from an Italian Summer is a new book by the Silver Spoon kitchen from Phaidon Press, and I recently received a review copy. It’s a collection of easy, breezy summer dishes for picnics, light meals, and summer entertaining. The recipes in this book are meant to be enjoyed at relaxing gatherings, and so most can be prepared in advance. These are simple dishes that take advantage of the best of the season. Fresh fruits find their way into desserts as well as savory dishes. This watermelon and shrimp salad is a perfect example of that. When I read about this dish, I was sure it would be a winner. Last summer, I became addicted to a watermelon and halloumi salad, and I quite like watermelon in savory applications. Kurt was less sure. He didn’t say a word as I prepared it, but his silence spoke volumes. Yes, this is a mix of shrimp, green olives, and mayonnaise served with watermelon balls. Is that weird? I didn’t really think it was. After a taste, Kurt realized his apprehension was unfounded.

I was glad to use some nice, big Gulf shrimp for this. I peeled and deveined them and roasted them in a 400 degree F oven with just olive oil and salt and pepper. Christina from the Central Market Cooking School gave me a great tip for shrimp at the last class I attended. Her tip is: "C" is for cooked, and "O" is for overcooked. You want to stop cooking your shrimp before they curl into an "O" shape. For the 20 per pound shrimp I used, that was about two minutes on each side. I let the shrimp cool before combining them with mayonnaise, chopped mint leaves, and halved green olives. For serving, the recipe directs you to use a hollowed watermelon half as a bowl and to season it with salt, pepper, and brandy. Then, the shrimp salad is to be placed in the watermelon bowl in alternating layers with melon balls. Since I was serving two people, I instead sprinkled some brandy on the melon balls, used smaller boat-shaped pieces of watermelon rind, and sort of layered or stuck melon balls into the salad as I could. I topped ours with basil chiffonade.

I can tell you that I now have two favorite, savory salads made with watermelon. Salty green olives, sharp mint, and shrimp in mayonnaise mixed with crunchy, sweet melon was a mix of contrasts that worked. The brandy added some complexity too. The best thing about this, though, was watching Kurt as he tasted and enjoyed. Then, he admitted that he was worried about this one but was surprised because it was actually really good. I knew it would be.



25 comments:

  1. That is an unusual combination! Very summery and interesting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Lovely! Oh I so want this. It looks so fresh, juicy and very summery.

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  3. This is looking so good I love the presentation!

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  4. What a fabulous sounding combination! I really like the Silver Spoon series and what I've made from them :)

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  5. What a unique combination of shrimp and watermelon, sounds lovely!

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  6. I love watermelon and shrimp, but never tried them together! Sounds good!

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  7. What a refreshing dish Lisa. You are truly a good cook.

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  8. Watermelon and shrimp in a salad! Sounds fantastic!

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  9. well, i just learned two important things about shrimp in the span of three minutes: that c-o cooking tip is awesome, and whaddya know--they pair well with melon! :)

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  10. Oh yum, this sounds so tasty. I just made a watermelon kinislaw lately that was out of this world. Watermelon is so refreshing, and your salad sounds incredibly delicious!

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  11. How creative. Love this combination.

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  12. O I didn't know they had a new book! The salad looks absolutely lovely. I am huge fan of combinations like that..

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  13. I love watermelon in savory dishes, but I hadn't thought of adding shrimp. What a wonderful idea. My mom always used the melon baller for her watermelon - it looks so pretty like that.

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  14. This is such a refreshing combo!

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  15. I've been tempted to use watermelon in a salad, but beloved turns his nose at the idea... I might have to pull this one and surprise him, seems absolutely delicious!

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  16. This would be amazing on a hot summer day. I think anyone who loves watermelon -- and seriously, who doesn't?? -- would go nuts for this dish.

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  17. looks fabulous. I totally agree about watermelon in savory foods.

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  18. Sounds different. nice clicks!!
    You can send any summer themed recipes and food photographs for our contest.It is our pleasure if you could participate in our Sizzling Summer Contest.You could win one of the two $50 prizes.

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  19. your salad looks so refreshing and it's a great idea to serve it in the watermelon skin

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  20. Sally: The watermelon and halloumi salad may be the gateway to convincing people of watermelon's value in savory salads!

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  21. Water melon and shrimps are very refreshing combo, have seen the canteloupe melon with shrimps but not water melons but why not???

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  22. What a lovely presentation - looks perfect for a summer party!

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  23. An intriguing combo, and I like your way of serving the salad in the watermelon rind.

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  24. I would have never thought of combining the red juicy melon with shrimp. what an unique combo and looks so appetizing.

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