I don’t know about you, but I’m hot these days. H-O-T. Hot as in melting in a puddle of Brooks Brothers and humanity by the time I get to the office at 7:30 every morning. That’s DC summer for you. Now, I know true Southerners say that the South starts at Richmond, and they’re right, I’m sure. But it’s still HHHHHHOT in DC, and I’m a New Yorker originally, so even six years into living here, this is still an adjustment. And on those evenings when I’ve dragged myself home from the metro, feeling like I’m swimming instead of walking in the humidity, and it’s 8,000 degrees in the shade, the last thing I want to do is fire up the stove. It’s nights like these that call for a simple, slap-together salad of some truly refreshing ingredients. Already-cooked and chilled shrimp, cool cucumbers and some juicy summer stone fruit – that’s the formula for surviving a July night in DC. Eat it, then throw open your windows and lie on your living room floor fanning yourself with the Bit ‘o Lit. Actually, scratch that last bit. I’ve never done that. Never.
Shrimp, Cucumber and Nectarine Salad
1/2 pound shrimp, pre-cooked, chilled and peeled
1/2 cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible
2 nectarines, sliced into thin wedges
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons (approx.) extra-virgin olive oil
2 pinches cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt (I like Maldon)
fresh mint (or cilantro)
- Evenly divide shrimp, cucumber and nectarines on two plates and toss together.
- In a small bowl, squeeze out the lime half and add cayenne pepper and sea salt. Stream in extra-virgin olive oil while whisking vigorously to create an emulsion.
- Drizzle dressing over two salads. Top with roughly chopped fresh mint or cilantro (whichever you happen to have on hand). That’s it! Serves two.
Wine Pairing: This would be great with a really refreshing summer wine, like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (with green notes to complement the cukes) or a lovely, fruity-yet-dry rose, straight from the chiller, condensating (it’s a word because I said it is) on the glass.
Source: Adapted from Everyday Food, July 2008.