Let’s cut to the chase.
Summer doesn’t technically end until September 21st. Until then, everyone is confused. The weather is confused. You and your wardrobe are confused. Your dog is probably confused. In a conversation about this very subject with our blog-founder, Deanna, I mentioned that it feels like we’re trying to hold on and let go at the same time; we’re desperate to cling to the last days of summer, yet we’re so ready for the crisp weather and the changing leaves.
It’s during this end-of-summer time, though, that you’ll find some of the best summer produce at your local farmer’s markets. During these September heat-waves, I crave food that’s cooling and fresh, which is why salad is a perfect compliment to the humidity.
Also, hi, I’m Jodi, and I love salad. I don’t eat and love salad “to be healthy,” I eat and love salad because I genuinely love vegetables, they make me feel great, and I was raised with salad on the table before every dinner. Before you roll your eyes and make assumptions about kale (which I also love), it’s possible to get giant bowl of fresh, crunchy vegetables on the table as the star of the meal; the Main Event, if you will.
I developed this recipe on a night when my mom was coming into the city to have dinner with me. Instead of going out, I decided to make us a picnic in the park, and this was an easy, portable dish packed with tons of refreshing summer flavors. Learn to love THE SALAD, and enjoy!
End-of-Summer Peach and Shrimp Salad
*This recipe serves 2, but add or subtract to your party amount.
You will need:
- 1.5 lemons
- 3 small figs, diced
- extra virgin olive oil
- bunch of fresh mint
- bunch of fresh basil
- 1 ear of corn, raw
- 1 medium peach*
- 1 heirloom tomato
- 1 avocado
- 8 shrimp, peeled and deveined**
- 1 cara cara orange
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- salt & pepper to taste****
Make your marinade:
To a high-speed blender, add figs, the juice of one lemon (reserve the lemon after you’ve juiced it), 1/4 cup fresh basil (packed), 1/4 cup fresh mint, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend on high for around 30 seconds; you don’t want it completely pulverized, and the result will be more of a puree than a sauce. Some small chunks of greenery are ideal. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Prep your shrimp:
To a bowl, add your shrimp and 2 tbsp of the fig marinade. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Place in the fridge to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Prep your salad:
Dice your peach into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Remove kernels from corn cob. Dice your heirloom tomato. Dice entire avocado. Tear a few leaves of fresh mint and basil, and set aside.
Cook your shrimp:
Heat a nonstick pan on medium high heat. Add a tsp of olive oil or cooking spray to the bottom of the pan. Add reserved lemons to the pan, cut side down (this will infuse some extra lemon flavor to the shrimp). Add shrimp and its marinade from the bowl to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until pink and completely opaque. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly.
Caramelize your peaches:
To the same pan, spray with coconut oil spray (or a tsp of coconut oil), and add your peaches. Let them sizzle for a minute or two from the excess heat that’s still coming off the pan from your shrimp you just cooked, and then turn heat on low for another minute. Sauté your peaches until slightly browned. Remove from heat.
Assemble your salad:
First, loosen up the remaining dressing by adding the juice of half a cara cara orange. Whisk, and then drizzle 2 tbsp on the bottom of your serving bowl. To the bowl add, 2 very large handfuls of arugula. Toss with dressing. Add your prepped salad veggies (corn, tomatoes, avocado, and peaches), and toss again. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp of sunflower seeds and your torn mint and basil. Place shrimp on top, and serve! Feel free to add more or less dressing to your taste preferences.
- *don’t be afraid of a little bruising! I learned that a lot of the time, it’s the thumbprint of the farmers as they’re picking the peaches off trees.
- **you can usually buy the shrimp this way, but if not, ask your fish monger ( I love the fish at Whole Foods) to do it for you if the process grosses you out.
- ***the peppery taste of arugula is perfect with this salad because it offsets the sweet, but if you don’t like it, any other dark, leafy green will do.
- ****season as you go! I find exact salt and pepper amounts to be silly unless you’re baking (which is science, so exact amounts are key); everyone has their preferences, so do your thing. Start small, though. You can always add, but never remove. If you fall into something too salty, try a squeeze of lemon; acid sometimes helps offset foods you’ve over salted.
I am the worst food photographer known to humankind. Please forgive and also laugh at. I also tried to “plate” this for the photo. Tried.