Summer has once again graced us with her lovely warmth, bright skies, and gorgeous sunsets. Tis the sun’s season to shine and shine it does as it fills the sky with an orb of glowing goodness. It’s crazy to me how much people complain in New York about summer; it’s too hot, it’s too sticky, too many tourists! You would think after the brittle and stifling cold we experienced people would be basking in the glory of the season with no COMPLAINTS. I have not one. I love the early rising and late setting of the sun, my sun-kissed skin, and of course, all the amazing, light and tasty dishes summer inspires me to create.
Perhaps I am so happy go lucky because I have found myself to be part of the oh so fortunate New Yorker crew that spends their summers in the Hamptons. Go ahead say it…oooh that Haaamptons…fancy! The mere mention of the place and immediately one visualizes pristine beaches, fancy cars, houses so big they make us paltry mortals hate our lives (just a little), and linen clothes. The Hamptons is exactly this picture, except even better than what you are imagining. While all the city dwellers are sweating in suits, sadly watching the sun set as they sit at their desks, and getting angry at tourists that stop right where they shouldn’t, the Hamptonites are relaxing on their verandas, taking in ocean views, and taking a dip in their Olympic size swimming pools with glass bottoms. Yes. That is their life.
My life in the Hamps, as I have grown to affectionately call it, isn’t quiet as glamorous, but I’ll take it. While the true Hamptonites are enjoying their lives I am slaving away concocting delectable dishes to please every single taste bud they have. Ok, not really slaving, it’s actually an incredibly stimulating situation, being surrounded by such natural beauty, to create. Not to mention I love the family I work for because I have like 99.8 percent freedom with the creative process.
Enough about me, by now I have figured out readers (thanks, Gheren! –yes, I have one more reader than mother!) mainly read this for tips and tricks and to learn how to make dishes to impress their lady or male friends. So for this mid summer month of July I have for you a dish I created today.
MAKE THIS MONTH:
Grilled Basil Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
What You Need:
Jumbo Shrimp 1 lb -about 10 shrimp
(please spend the money to buy real jumbo shrimp it makes a HUGE difference, keep your frozen baby shrimp for nasty shrimp salad with all that mayo)
What You Do:
Clean the shrimpies. You have to shell and then devein them. Devein means slicing the back and taking out the black line inside.
Looks like this. Tis Gross.
This is can be a long tedious process, but don’t cry to me about cleaning your pound of shrimp. I used to have to peel and devein 4 lbs at a time at Venice Ale House. I definitely shed a tear or two. The other option if you don’t want to devein is to eat shrimp poop. Trust me, not tasty. Put the CLEAN shrimp into a bowl.
Use a garlic press to mince into the bowl with the shrimpies. Alternatively you may chop the garlic really small, but the press saves you about 5 minutes of arduous work. Roughly chop about 8-10 leaves of basil and add to the same bowl. Also add the zest of one lemon, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Lastly squeeze like 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. NOT TOO MUCH! You want the flavor, but the acid in lemon juice can cook seafood making it tough if it sits too long. (The concept behind ceviche)
Let the shrimpies sit and get delicious for at least 20 minutes.
While this is happening small dice the pineapple and even smaller dice the jalapeño (unless you like your mouth on fire). Add to a different bowl. Cut about 4/5 basil leaves into pretty ribbons. *Trick- stack the leaves on top of each other and roll tightly as if you were rolling that other herb (that is legal in Denver and Washington) into a wrapper. Use your knife to carefully slice thru the “cigar” you just made. Perfect ribbons!
Everything you have just chopped for the salsa is part of presentation so take your time and make it sexy. Squeeze a bit of lemon, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and let the flavors meld together.
Next heat your grill pan (or regular sauté pan) Now I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. You need it SMOKING HOT; it must be turn on the fan, open the window, get a magazine ready for the smoke detector hot.
It is the only way to get beautiful color and crust on the outside and also keep the shrimp nice and juicy on the inside. I’d say it takes about 3 minutes each side, but you probably know I’m not a fan of such constraints and rules. I am a fan of the taste and see method. So go ahead when you think they are done remove one from the pan and cut thru it.
You are almost ready to have a true taste of summer in your mouth.
Don’t just pile in on the plate in a heap! This is haute Hamp life summer cuisine, not sticky city dweller just want to escape the jail of work to get to happy hour food. Arrange the shrimp over a bed of greens (I used arugula) centered around the salsa, placing each one with purpose. When the stack of succulent shrimp looks like it’s about to tumble down in a delectable wonder carefully sprinkle the rest of the salsa over top.
Now you may eat.
I hope the flavors take you here
or someplace close like it.