It’s not even August and apparently stores are stocking their shelves for Hallow-freaking-ween. I’m very much aware that holiday creep is a huge thing in retail (back-to-school seems to go back on the shelves around the Fourth) but especially after the winter so many of us had to endure this year, well, cheering on the arrival of the season of inevitable misery seems abominably cruel. It’s not like this summer has been particularly arduous here in the Northeast—we’ve had some periods of hot and/or humid weather, but we’ve been pretty lucky so far: a day or two of intense humidity have beckoned a cold front blowing through almost immediately thereafter, and otherwise we’ve had pretty pleasant weather. There have been many a weekend afternoon spent on the local beaches, and even an evening or two listening to the rain while we sit on our balcony.
In short, I’m doing everything I can to appreciate the summer while it’s here, and I will be loath to give it up because gauzy clothes and cool drinks are superior to woolly socks, fun-size candies and hot toddies, no matter what anyone says.
Of course, all of this whining is kind of hilarious because I’m featuring a salad that originally calls for blood oranges—a fruit only available during the dead of winter—in this post. It comes from Barcelona Wine Bar’s cookbook (and has even made an appearance on this blog in the past) and they even acknowledge that it’s also pretty perfect for summer, so long as you use the oranges available in your market at the time. What makes it great is that it’s filling but not overwhelming: it’s pretty hard to inhale raw parsley and fennel in the same way it’s easy to eat arugula or other greens, so you’re forced to eat relatively slowly and like magic, you feel very satiated at the end of it. What makes it an ideal summer salad is that you can assemble the vegetable portion whenever you want and save the cooking of the shrimp for right before you want to serve, allowing some time to savor a nice glass of rosé or a delicious beer before dinner.
In short: I implore you to make this salad this summer because it’s fabulous…but if you don’t, it will probably be the best, most virtuous thing you can make during the cold and unforgiving winter months.
Shrimp and Orange Arugula Salad
adapted from The Barcelona Cookbook
serves 2 as a hearty (but not heavy) dinner, or four as a generous side salad
- 4 juice oranges, juiced
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- 3 cups arugula
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (via mandoline is preferred, but not required)
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced (again, a mandoline is preferred but do the best you can. I actually only had two shallots and they worked well too)
- ½ bunch parsley leaves, left whole and large stems removed
- ½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
- 2 juice oranges, supremed
- Juice of a lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for sautéing (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled
- 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Combine the orange juice and the sherry vinegar into a saucepan or saucier, bring to medium heat, and reduce by half. Set aside to cool.
Prepare all vegetables and herbs as described and combine in a large bowl; mix well. Supreme the oranges (slice off the top and bottom of each one, then carefully cut the skin and pith off, and then cut out the segments following the outlines of the membrane) and add to the bowl. Hold the oranges over the other vegetables to capture any extra juice.
Dress the salad with the lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper; mix well to combine.
Then sauté the shrimp: add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to a nonstick pan over moderate heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, and then add the shrimp and sauté until pink and cooked through. Add reduced orange juice to the salad, toss well, then divide into bowls. Serve with shrimp on top.