Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's In Your Picnic Basket?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
As far as I am concerned, it's always a good time for a picnic. But a tailgate with good friends before a John Mayer concert is a perfect beginning to a great night.

Having just returned from our week away at Lake Powell (A recap of that great adventure is brewing) my dear friend, Michelle, took the reigns and treated us to a fabulous spread. She is amazing with every last detail considered. From the fantastic Schramberg Sparkling Wine (in mini glasses) to the cloth napkins, we knew we were "living it right."

Michelle prepared Ina Garten's shrimp salad on rolls. D-Lish! I am a sucker for shellfish so these really hit the spot for me. Green bean salad with feta cheese and Lillet Blanc (a tip from Domestic Reflections) were the perfect compliments.

Finishing our picnic off right we enjoyed scrumptious lemon bars as we watched a parade of concert goers. (Ina Garten's recipe, of course. You can cut a few corners and get her box mix from Crate and Barrel or check out Smitten Kitchen's adaptation of the recipe.) Many thanks to Michelle for such a lovely feast.

You may not catch JM this tour but the you can certainly pack up a picnic and feast away. And if you do, be sure to let me know what's in your picnic basket?

Shrimp Salad
Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
Serves 12

The key to a good shrimp salad is to undercook the shrimp. I know it sounds amazing but they really do cook in 3 minutes. This salad makes a delicious lunch on its own a first course for dinner, or a great sandwich filling. The old wives' tale about mayonnaise spoiling on a picnic is false; it's the shrimp that spoils, so be sure all your ingredients are cold before you mix them.

3 Tbl kosher salt plus 1 tsp
1 lemon, cut into quarters
4 pounds large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound)
2 cups good mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbl good white wine or white wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbl minced fresh dill
1 cup minced red onion (1 onion)
3 cups minced celery (6 stalks)

1. Bring 5 quarts of water, 3 tablespoons salt, and the lemon to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for only 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are barely cooked through.
2. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cool water. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Let cool, then peel and devein the shrimp.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

This makes a lot so you can certainly get away with reducing the recipe.

1 comment:

jora said...

Oh me oh my, all of that sounds tasty. I need to figure out a way to get invited to her next picnic -- hopefully before the next JM concert comes around... :)