Monday, August 19, 2013

Peachy Green Salad with Shrimp on the Barbie

 The end of summer is my favourite time for peaches because that's when the freestone peaches come out.  Peaches are either clingstone (stones are hard to remove) or freestone (stones are easy to remove).  Freestone peaches are generally used for canning because you are not eating them out of hand, but they are great for salads, too, because you will not end up with mushy peaches as you try to pry the flesh away from the stone.

The peach salad and shrimp go nicely together for a light summer supper, but they can also be served separately with whatever else you have going on.  This vinaigrette will likely be more than you need, but it will store nicely in the fridge.  If the olive oil hardens in the fridge, just let it come to room temperature for a bit and it will be as good as new.

You can either make the salad in one large bowl for everyone to share, or you can make individual salads.  I like to make individual ones because there are only two of us (fewer dishes to wash!), and it also ensures that everyone gets equal amounts of each ingredient.  Call me anal if you want . . .

This is a freestyle recipe - the amount of each ingredient you need depends on how many you are serving and how much of each ingredient you like. Use more or less depending on your own personal preference.  Mom, I know this idea scares you, but I promise, you can't screw it up!


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey (or less to taste)
salt, pepper

lettuce greens or spinach (not iceberg)
ripe peaches (about 1/2 a large peach per person)
feta cheese (I use goat's feta and serve about 25 grams per person)
dried cranberries (about 1 Tbsp per person)
fresh basil, torn into small pieces
red onions, diced
toasted almonds, slivered or sliced

1 pound of raw shrimp
long skinny skewers
garlic powder
salt, pepper


1. Soak the skewers in cold water so that they do not burn on the barbecue.  Do this as soon as you think of it.  I try to soak them for a couple of hours, but if you forget, it's no big deal.

2. Preheat the barbeque to medium and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. If you don't like the bite of raw onion, put the diced onion in a bit of salted cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain before using.  If you do like raw onion, skip this step.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  If you have a jar with a lid, it is a great vessel to make vinaigrette because you can just shake it up immediately before you use it, and then store it in the same container.

4. Put the slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes.  Watch them carefully so that they do not burn.  If you are using sliced almonds, it will probably only take about 3 - 4 minutes.  If you accidentally overcook them, but they are not burned, take them off the tray immediately so that they do not continue to cook - I'm speaking from experience on this one.  I always burn the nuts!

5. Put the shrimp on the soaked skewers, making sure to leave room between each one.  You want the air to circulate, and you also need to leave room for them to curl as they roast.   Sprinkle them with a bit of garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  At this point, either put them aside until you have the salad put together or nicely call for your partner (who is probably in the living room watching TV) to come and throw the shrimp on the barbie.

6. Now, layer your salad with greens on the bottom, then peaches sliced into crescents (I cut the peach into 6 sections and then slice), torn basil, red onions, feta, cranberries, and toasted almonds.  Drizzle the vinaigrette overtop just before you are ready to serve it.

7. If you haven't put the shrimp on the barbeque yet, do it now.  If your shrimp do not have shells, you might want to oil the grates on the grill to prevent them from sticking.  You can also use a barbeque pan overtop of the grill, but that will prevent them from getting a bit charred.  If the shells are still on, they should be okay to put right on the grill.  After a minute or two, turn them over.  When they are pink, curled, and opaque, they are done.  It won't take long, so watch them carefully.  It is easier to overcook them than to undercook them, so if you think they are done, they are.  If you leave them on too long, they will be tough and rubbery.

8. To serve, I just put all the skewers on one plate for people to take what they want and eat with their hands, especially if the shrimp still have the shells on them.  Enjoy!


1. You could easily add raspberries or blueberries to this salad.


1. If you have leftover salad, don't put vinaigrette on it, and it will probably save for one day in the fridge.

2. If you have leftover shrimp, they would be great to add at the last minute to a pasta dish.  You can also eat them cold from the fridge.  Don't try reheat them, though, or they will be seriously overcooked.

Shopping Tips:

When you buy shrimp, you will have several options.  First of all, some are grey and some are pink.  The ones that are pink are cooked already, so don't buy those.  There are also different sizes, and they are marked by the count number on the front.  This is marked as # of shrimp / pound.  The smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp.  For barbequing, I like larger shrimp and buy the 16-20 count ones, but they are more expensive, too.  If you buy smaller ones, that's fine, you just need to be more careful when you are barbequing so that they do not overcook.

Also, you will have a choice of shell on or off.  I like shell-on for this dish because it helps keep the shrimp juicier (you can also use the shells afterwards to make a stock, if you are so inclined).  However, when you have the shell on, the seasoning sits on top of the shell and does not really penetrate the shrimp.  I find, though, that the seasoning gets on your fingers when you are de-shelling them and then gets on the shrimp from your fingers - is that gross?  I don't think so...  Anyway, you also want to make sure that they are deveined, which means that the poop line has been taken out of their backs - that IS gross.  If they are not deveined, you will have to do it yourself, and it is a very tedious process.

Good luck, and have fun.  Summer is almost over, so make the most of it with this summer celebration. Hmm... celebration, that makes me think, this would be great with a peach bellini, or even a crisp glass of white wine...


  1. Well Shannon! It only took you 3 tries to push me wa-ay-y-y outside of my comfort zone! First of all, I don't care for shrimp however I promised to be a good sport so will give it a try I might let your Dad do this one since he's the griller. Thank you for the detail about buying, preparing, and eating the shrimp... I hope Dad gets it right! lol

    1. Luckily for me, that's not hard to do! If you don't like shrimp, just make the salad with something different on the side. Is there something particular that you don't like about shrimp? I'm surprised that you like scallops but not shrimp...

    2. What a lucky break that we were together over the weekend and YOU DID THE COOKING!!! I'm still not a fan of shrimp however the shrimp lovers at the table ate until they could eat no more... and we all love, love, loved! the salad. Definitely want to do that one many times over!