food & drink: Italian shrimp and potato salad makes a great picnic side or light summer main dish
Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com
Lately, I've been spending a lot of time looking at recipes for barbecue and picnic sides. Rarely does a day pass when someone isn't asking me for suggestions, and a person can recommend her mom's fusilli salad only so many times. It's time for me to expand my horizons.
I've long claimed a hatred for potato salad, but after discovering a cilantro lemon potato salad a few weeks ago, I've come to realize that I really just dislike cold hardboiled eggs in mayonnaise. I was just eating the wrong kind of potato salad. There is a whole world of delicious potato concoctions just waiting to be discovered.
This recipe comes courtesy of a recent issue of Bon Appetit. What I love about it... well, there are a lot of things I love about it.
I love that I had most of the ingredients already, either in my cupboard or growing in my herb garden. I love how little prep work was required. I love how creamy the boiled baking potatoes taste, especially after they've been drizzled with dry white wine. And I love that the inclusion of shrimp elevates this from a side dish to a light main course.
I was initially worried that the raw onion would overpower the dish, but after soaking in red wine vinegar for 45 minutes, they had a nicely mild flavor.
Jeff Potter, author of the book "Cooking For Geeks," recommends always soaking onions that will be served raw. When you cut an onion, it releases an enzyme that combines with sulfoxides from the onion's cells to produce sulfenic acid. This is what gives onions a strong, undesirable odor, according to Potter. Sulfenic acid is water soluble, though, so a good soak will leave you with much milder flavors.
I bought the shrimp from the shrimp bar at Whole Foods. All I needed to do was remove the tails and cut the shrimp into thirds. Plum or Roma tomatoes are available in most supermarkets. I imagine once we start seeing local tomatoes in the markets that this salad will be even more delicious.
Take note of the fact that there are several steps that call for the addition of salt and pepper. You'll want to take a light hand to the salt each time, or you could end up with an overly salted salad. You can always add a touch more when you're ready to plate it if you think it's necessary.
Shrimp and Potato Salad
From Milan restaurant Osteria La Risacca, and originally printed in Bon Appetit Magazine.
- 1 small red onion (about 4 ounces), thinly sliced into rings
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 3/4 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes (3-4 large baking potatoes)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound large shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 3 plum tomatoes (about 2/3 pounds), quartered lengthwise, then crosswise
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Place sliced onion in a strainer and rinse under cold water for 20 seconds; drain. Transfer onion to a large bowl; add vinegar and toss to coat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, boil potatoes in a medium pot of lightly salted water until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain. Let cool slightly. Using a kitchen towel, rub skins off potatoes. Cut potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces and transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle wine over. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss to combine; set aside.
Add shrimp, tomatoes, and oil to bowl with onions. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to incorporate. Let sit for 5 minutes until flavors meld. Add basil and potatoes, toss gently, and serve.