Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summertime and the Eating's Easy

Newsflash! It is too damn hot to do any real indoor cooking. Put away the casserole dishes, dutch ovens, and roasting pans, and pull out your salad spinner, grill, and smoker. Right now the Crescent City Farmer's Market is awash in delicious things you should be eating. A visit last weekend turned up two pounds of U-12 shrimp, a pound of squid, blueberries, Creole tomatoes, and a pint of peaches fragrant enough to use as cologne.

Like any red blooded American, my grill in the summertime is used more than graphic violence in a Tarantino film. High heat, low and slow, shoot, I've even been known to grill a vegetable on the damn thing. Take that, terrorists! In summer it is time to switch from meats bathed in luxurious stocks to meats kissed with squeezes of lemon or lime and a splash of good olive oil. Try grilling citrus before squeezing it over shrimp or a rack of ribs, smoked and seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper.

And about those shrimp, they are perfect right now. Plump and fat, they ooze with briny goodness. You can prepare shrimp any way you like; but if you go this whole summer without making a Mason jar full of pickled shrimp, your subscription to the internet will be revoked. The technique is simple. Quickly boil shrimp in highly seasoned water, toss with a vinaigrette, and let sit. You can add, capers, or mint, or olive salad, or anything your little heart desires. This is the perfect dish to bring to your friend's lake or beach house. Pick up a gallon of daiquiris, some French bread, and a case of beer and your yearly invite will continue.

Fluffy omelets, their centers just on the cooked side of Carbonara, work their way into the dinner repertoire. The best omelet technique in the world is right here. Practice it a few times and serve with a green salad with a garlicky dressing.  Break out a bottle of Sancerre or Rose. And count the days til fall.

For dessert, keep it simple, stupid. Bowls of peaches, blackerries, and blueberries need very little to showcase their brilliance. But baked shortbread sliced in half and a dollop of homemade whipped cream (with a splash of Southern Comfort) is one way to make summer fruits the star.

What are your summer go to meals?


Wilson said...

Too hot to cook inside? But I have A/C there and it's bug free! Doesn't stop me from grilling, though I prefer the spring and fall, weather-wise, for that. At this time of year I just suck it up and cook whatever wherever cause it's going to be uncomfortable regardless.

PBeard said...

What'd you do to the shrimp in the picture?

Anonymous said...

How was the wine?

Rene said...


That is a mixture of parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, olive oil, and anchovy. The technique is outlined in a few of the Batali books. You blend the stuff up, then use it to coat the protein of choice (shrimp good, chicken thighs outstanding). Then grill.


That is probably my favorite domestic warm weather white wine. Also, I like it with risotto with shrimp and fava beans.