Monday, August 19, 2013

Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon, Corn & Burrata Salad

Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon, Corn & Burrata Salad

Serves: 4

Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon, Corn & Burrata Salad
This is a light entrĂ©e salad for dinner or lunch….the perfect summertime meal. It is a dish for a sunny day. The corn is sweet and tender enough to serve raw. Cubes of watermelon provide additional sweetness as well as crisp texture. Burrata cheese, oozing with cream at its center, provides a rich counterpoint for the crisp corn-and-watermelon salad with grilled shrimp. You could substitute a great cantaloupe or honeydew for the watermelon.  Feel free to improvise based on your mood and whatever is freshest and ripest at the time.

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made when leftover curds of mozzarella are enveloped in piece of already stretched out mozzarella and filled with cream, then secured. It is not buffalo mozzarella, although it’s made from buffalo milk. Burrata is its own thing entirely, and you’ll know this the second you taste it. It can be found in the gourmet cheese section of many grocers.

Most shrimp is farm-raised and frozen, guaranteeing good quality and an abundant supply. It is sold by size: small, medium, large and jumbo, or by number of pieces per pound. I always buy the best quality FROZEN shrimp I can find. It is always frozen – even the “fresh” shrimp at the seafood counter of your grocer. It comes to them frozen; they thaw it, and sell it to you – perhaps hours but maybe days after thawing. I recommend buying shrimp raw and frozen. Frozen shrimp with the shell on tend to be of the best quality and flavor. Plus then you get the shells to make stock for another recipe. (Hint, freeze the shells until ready) It takes but a few minutes under running cool water in a strainer in your sink to thaw shrimp. Easy peasy.
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4Tb olive oil, divided, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4Tb finely sliced fresh basil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Kernels from 4 ears of corn
  • 2Tb white balsamic vinegar
  • 3C cubed watermelon
  • 1-2 balls burrata at room temperature
  • Wooden sticks for grilling shrimp - optional

Make sure shrimp is thoroughly cleaned and deveined. Dry with paper towels and place in a one-gallon plastic bag.  Add 2 Tb olive oil, garlic and 1 Tb basil to bag. Gently mix within the bag so all shrimp are covered with olive oil marinade. Allow marinade for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours in frig. Meanwhile soak wooden sticks in water for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss corn with white balsamic vinegar, remaining 2 Tb olive oil and 3 Tb of basil. Add watermelon and season with salt.
Fresh corn--does not even need to be cooked
Remove shrimp from bag.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. If using wooden sticks, skewer each shrimp with two sticks in parallel. This keeps the shrimp from curling and makes a prettier final presentation.  However one could easily simply grill the shrimp turning them over one by one. Grill shrimp over medium heat until pink, 1-2 minutes per side.  Do not overcook, as it will become rubbery.

Shrimp on two skewers to keep them from curling up
To serve, I like to arrange all on a platter. Place watermelon-corn salad on the platter, leaving a space in the center for the burrata. Arrange grilled shrimp on top. Drizzle some olive oil over all, especially the burrata.  Sprinkle a bit of finishing salt on the burrata and serve to accolades. Alternatively, one could halve two balls of burrata.  Divide it, shrimp and corn-watermelon salad among 4 salad plates.  Season burrata with salt, drizzle with oil and serve…again to accolades!

This is best served with a white wine of your choosing – or champagne, of course!

Buon appetito!


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