I am usually very, shall we say, inflexible about my weekly menus. The Southern husband and I decide on our suppers for the week on Saturdays, and on Sundays we hit the farmer’s market with our list in hand. If someone suggests a change in menu after I finish writing out my list, they are usually out of luck. I’m just ornery that way. But a little while ago I arrived at the farmer’s market one Sunday to find heaps of these teeny tiny baby new potatoes – red ones, yellow ones, and (I am not kidding) purple ones. And so I broke one of my own cardinal rules and decided right there in the middle of the store to chuck out the dinner plan for one of those already-planned nights and make shrimp salad with new potatoes.
I always have bags of frozen shrimp in my freezer exactly for emergencies such as this one – I buy them in bulk at Costco, which has the best shrimp I know. (And don’t even get me started on their fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.) So once I had my mitts on the adorable baby potatoes, it was a short trip to dinner. I peeled and butterflied the shrimp, and then poached them just until they were done, and set them in a bowl of cold water to cool. Next I boiled the potatoes until they were tender, and put them in their own bowl of cold water. Once they were cool enough to handle, I cut the bigger ones in half – you can leave the littlest ones just as they are. We’re looking for bite-sized here, so use your best judgement!
Now for the most important part: we are going to marinate our shrimp and potatoes in a glorious concoction of shallots, white wine and tarragon for a few hours or even overnight ~ this is going to give it a lovely, tangy sparkle. I threw this all together after supper one night, and the next night I simply pulled it out of the fridge, popped it on a bed of pretty frisee lettuce, gave it a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and dug in.
So the moral of the story is, whenever you hear the siren song of something calling to you in the farmer’s market, you must listen. Delicious things happen that way!
Adapted from SIMPLY ELEGANT COUNTRY FOODS
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and butterflied
- 1 pint new baby potatoes
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- I head frisee or other lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer and cook shrimp until just done, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a bowl of cold water to cool.
- Bring another pot of water to boil and cook potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl of cold water to cool.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the larger ones in half. Place shrimp and potatoes in a large bowl.
- Gently stir in shallots and tarragon. Pour the wine over the mixture, cover and refrigerate for several hours and as long as overnight.
- When you are ready to serve, make a nice bed of lettuce on each plate. Give the salad another gentle stir, and divide among plates. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve at once.