Caprese salad with basil oil and balsamic syrup

The case for Caprese

Originally appeared in the July 7, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

My reticence in featuring a Caprese salad was rooted in my unflinching suspicion that it’d been overdone—that readers would glance at the recipe’s title only to supply an uninspired mental shrug.  Currently, the Caprese salad is a pervasive staple on restaurant menus.  But sadly, many of these interpretations are poorly executed, doing little justice to such a renowned and refreshing pairing.  Yet, properly prepared, the effects are culinarily indelible.  Read the rest after the jump: (more…)

Grilled scallops with mango and arugula salad

Scallops:  a sea-change of pace

Originally appeared in the June 09, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

Next time you’re at the market scanning the seafood selection, bypass the usual suspects—the salmon, the tilapia, the shrimp—and try your culinary luck with scallops, what I consider to be an underused and undersung ocean edible.  Check out more here: (more…)

Watermelon, Shrimp, and Feta Salad

Serves 4

  • 7 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 lb seedless watermelon
  • 1 ¾ ounces arugula leaves, washed
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon toasted mixed seeds:  pumpkin or sunflower

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Marinate shrimp by tossing them together with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of cayenne, and some salt and pepper in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.

2.  Cut watermelon into wedges, then cut off the skin and slice the flesh thinly.  Layer the watermelon slices on large serving platter, interleaving them with arugula.  Crumble over feta and sprinkle over black pepper.

3.  Place a large, nonstick skillet, over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add in the shrimp and pan-fry for about 2 minutes until they turn opaque, flipping them over after a minute or so.  Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly while you make the dressing.

4.  Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.  Add the shrimp to the platter and sprinkle over the seeds (if using).  Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Published in: on August 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tomato-Olive Summer Salad

The spice is right

Originally appeared in the July 29, 2010 edition of the Southside Times.

Summer menus are peppered with lighter fare—specialty salads, succulent fruits, and vibrant vegetables.  It’s also a season when our personal menus aren’t quite as “heavy.”  Yet all too often I hear complaints that some low-fat, low-sodium recipes are too bland or too boring.  Here’s a solution:  using fresh herbs and dry spices is an ideal way of eating “lighter” without sacrificing flavor.  More after the jump: (more…)

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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