Saturday, July 7, 2012

Battle Mint, Part 2: Farmers Market Salad with Minted Shrimp

The most recent Culinary Smackdown wasn't a battle at all, as I was the only participant. But here is my mint dish anyway. In case you missed Part 1, I took my inspiration from what I found at a bunch of local farmers markets. Then, given our heat wave, I added one of my favorite cold foods, shrimp.

My farm market finds included okra and some intriguing purple pole beans (they're at the bottom of this photo).

The okra I cut into 1/2 inch chunks, sauteed in a bit of bacon fat, shallot, and chopped mint, then spritzed with vinegar, and let come to room temp. I steamed the purple beans – which turned more green during cooking – and marinated them in olive oil, balsamic, chopped shallot, mustard, torn mint, and salt. Hot veg soaks in marinade well. Then I refrigerated them for my cold dinner dish.

To accompany my salad, I couldn't resist a slice of the toasted garlic scapes ciabatta from Atwood Family Farms that I found at Bellevue Farmers Market, along with my new favorite Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese, their brie, which I eventually sprinkled a chiffonade of mint on to as well.

To dress the cold shrimp, I combined mayo, mustard, smoked paprika, a bit of caper brine, minced shallot and mint, and lemon juice and zest. I added torn mint to my salad greens, dressed them with the mint vinaigrette I'd marinated the beans in, and assembled my plate.

Cookerati, our host for this Culinary Smackdown, says she'll award me the win this time, by default. What other choice does she have? Let me know if you'd like to keep the Smackdown going or if you'd like to take a summer break. There's so much great summer bounty to cook with, but this is also the season of vacations, lots of other tempting activities, and abysmal heat and storms. If you'd like to participate and have any suggestions for the next Smackdown theme, I'm all ears :)

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