Grilling season is in full swing, but before you know it, summer will be over and we’ll all move on to heartier soups and stews. But while the weather’s still warm and friends stop by for a barbecue, here’s a recipe to try before the season’s over:
shrimp bathed in a herby, garlicky marinade, then threaded onto skewers and grilled over hot coals.
Try serving the shrimp over a rice salad, as I did, using a combination of red rice and white rice, plus a bunch of vegetables. You don’t have to be dogmatic about the recipe – just use whatever you have on hand or what you like. At this time of year, backyard vegetable gardens and farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh produce, so it’s easy to come up with flavorful combinations.
I never cooked with red rice until I spotted it recently at a local market. It’s commonly grown in the Himalayan mountains, Southern Tibet, Bhutan, Southern India and more recently, the Camargue region of Southern France. I learned that it’s a culinary and nutritional superstar, rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium. It’s also a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. As if that weren’t enough, it’s loaded with antioxidants too, similar to what’s found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables.
For this cold rice salad, I was afraid if I used red rice only, it might end up looking like dog food, so I added in some white rice to make it a little more visually appealing. I added lots of vegetables too, and honestly, with the shrimp skewers covering the top, the salad wasn’t even visible at first. I used a simple dressing of mayonnaise mixed with lemon juice, an idea from my buddy, Marie of Proud Italian Cook.
You can make the salad a day or even two ahead of time, freeing you up the day of your party or picnic. The shrimp can also be served cold, although I like them best when they’re hot off the grill.
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And if you live in the Central N.J. area, join me on Saturday, August 29 at 11 a.m. at the West Windsor Farmer’s Market, when I’ll be on a panel discussion with other food writers and photographers, including Rome-based Katie Parla and NJ Monthly columnist Pat Tanner.
minced fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, thyme and basil)
a few shakes of red hot pepper flakes
2 pounds raw shrimp (I like to buy wild shrimp caught in the U.S.)
Mix all the above ingredients, except the shrimp. Clean the shrimp, removing the shells and cleaning out the central vein. Place the marinade and shrimp in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least two to three hours. Thread the shrimp on skewers and cook over a hot grill for about two minutes on each side. Alternately, preheat the broiler in your oven and cook for a couple of minutes.
Red Rice Salad
1 cup red rice
1 cup white long grain rice
5 cups water
3 carrots, cooked or raw, your choice, minced
1/2 cup minced green or red pepper
1 cup minced tomatoes, deseeded
4 scallions, chopped
2 ears of corn, raw or cooked, your choice, and cut from the cob
a large handful of minced herbs, your choice (I used parsley, thyme and oregano)
salt, pepper1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup lemon juice
Cook the rice in water. Let the rice cool, then add all the other ingredients, except the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice and add to the rice, stirring it in thoroughly. Taste and add more seasonings or more mayonnaise and lemon juice, according to your taste. Serve chilled with the shrimp skewers on top.