Summer Salad of Grilled Shrimp, Corn & Peaches

If there is one cooking rut that I see people get into, it’s a salad rut.  The same lettuce, the same toppings, the same dressings.  And I get it, the salad is often relegated to the side as an afterthought.  We’re all busy and often don’t need one more thing to think about.  But I’m here to tell you that this time of year is the perfect time to re-think your tired, humble salad, and let it take center stage.

 

This salad is going to change the way you feel about salad.  And I wish I could say it was because of me.  But it’s not.  The corn, the tomatoes, the peaches – these are the real stars of the show!  After all, it’s August and peak of the summer harvest has begun!

If you ask me, a dinner salad can be the perfect meal in August.  It’s too hot to cook and we’re feeling kind of lazy in the kitchen.  That’s where the bounty that is Michigan produce, comes to the rescue.  I implore you – go to the farmer’s market or anywhere you can buy just picked fruit and vegetables.  You’ll be supporting local agriculture and honestly, the intense flavors will knock your socks off!  You just can’t get that same flavor experience at a grocery store.

But the perfect summer dinner salad isn’t complete without a first-rate dressing.  And I love this one for a couple of different reasons.  First, it doubles as a marinade AND a dressing – which is a win-win because it allows you to build layers of flavor in your salad, while also not requiring any extra work.  The second reason I love this green garlic vinaigrette is that I have yet to meet a kid that didn’t like it!  It’s got just enough sweet in it to keep them interested.

So, please do give this one a try.  It is, quite literally, August on a plate!

Summer Salad of Grilled Shrimp,
Corn & Peaches

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce
  • 1 lb. 16/20 peeled & deveined raw shrimp
  • 4-5 strips of bacon
  • 3 ears sweet corn
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 peaches
  • 2 avocados
  • 3 oz. feta cheese
  • Green garlic vinaigrette (see below)
  • Optional garnish: fresh basil leaves and nasturtium flowers

Preparation

  1. Make the vinaigrette (see recipe below).
  2. Pour half of the vinaigrette over the shrimp and toss to combine.  Place in the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. Make the bacon. In a large saute pan, cook the bacon to your preferred level of doneness.  Drain on paper towels, and then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Prepare the vegetables and set aside:  cut the lettuce into bite-sized pieces; shuck the corn, remove all husks; slice cherry tomatoes in half; cut peaches in half, remove the pit, and thinly slice; cut avocados in half, remove the pit, and thinly slice.
  5. Preheat the grill to high; clean and oil the grates.
  6. Place corn cobs on the grill and cover to cook.  When corn has some color, rotate it.
  7. Add shrimp to the grill (directly from the marinade) and season it with kosher salt.  Close the cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Flip shrimp and repeat for another 2 minutes, and then remove from the grill.  Corn should be done about the same time.  If you prefer it more charred, leave it on a little longer.
  8. When cool enough to handle, lay corn flat on your cutting board and cut the kernels off with a knife.
  9. Assemble salad.  Place lettuce in a large shallow bowl or platter.  Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the lettuce and toss to coat.
  10. Layer on corn, bacon, tomatoes, peaches, avocados and feta.  Add the shrimp and then drizzle everything with more of the vinaigrette.  ENJOY!

Green Garlic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch segments
  • ¼ c. parsley
  • ¼ c. spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • ¼ c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Put all ingredients, except olive oil, into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is chopped.
  2. With the motor continually running, pour olive oil through the feed tube and process until really well blended.
  3. Check for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.

Notes:

  • Have fussy kids that don’t like everything touching?  You can always put toppings into separate bowls and let everyone assemble their own.
  • Don’t like shrimp or have a shellfish allergy?  Feel free to substitute your favorite protein – salmon, chicken thighs, skirt steak, or tofu.  If you’re using something like chicken or beef, a longer marinating time would be preferable.
  • Don’t want to use bacon?  No problem – just omit it!
  • Don’t have a food processor?  No problem – use a blender or just finely chop all of the vinaigrette ingredients and add them to a bowl and whisk in the liquid ingredients.  It won’t be exactly the same texture, but still delish!
  • Want to make this even easier?  If you’re making sweet corn for another dinner earlier in the week, cook a few extra cobs and keep them in the refrigerator and then use them for this salad.  It’s a salad, so cold works!  Another thought?  Have BLT’s for dinner earlier in the week and use any leftover bacon in this salad.
  • Have extra dressing left over?  Store it in the refrigerator – it makes a great dip for veggies.

Hello, I’m Natalie!  I’m a professionally-trained chef and culinary instructor living in Ann Arbor.  A career change, a trip through culinary school 20 years ago, and being a lifelong Julia Child enthusiast has led me to a career doing my very favorite thing:  making food and cooking approachable to home cooks of all ages!   

My passion for creating great food experiences and getting people excited about learning and having fun in the kitchen is always at the heart of what I do.  I teach virtual adult and family cooking classes through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed, as well as my own private cooking classes and corporate events at NatalieMarbleCooks.com.  You can find me on social media at @NatalieMarbleCooks and can sign up for my bi-weekly email newsletter here, where I share family-friendly recipes, tips & tricks, new class information, and hopefully a little inspiration!