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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Warm Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

I think I have a fantastic television show pitch. 

There's Man Vs. Food, where the guy travels the country stuffing himself on greasy fare.  I'm suggesting Preschooler Vs. Food, where Amir, my 3-year-old, travels the country meeting people who cook for him.  The challenge is to find the people and foods that he'll eat.  Because I'm stumped, folks.

Yesterday I thought I had cooked the epitome of kid-friendly food.  As I was preparing it, the Little Critic danced excitedly in anticipation for lunch.  This salad features watermelon (which we eat at least two whole ones a week during the summer), cucumber (a vegetable I can count on him eating) and shrimp (a seafood he's been eating since before the Academy of Pediatrics recommended age).  It also has feta which he isn't wild about, but I could leave that off of his, along with the offending green dill.  Perfect, right?

Warm Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

4 whole-wheat pitas, cut into triangles
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
16 medium to large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 oz crumbled feta
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Toast pita bread until brown and crispy on a cookie sheet, turning once, 3-5 minutes per side.

2.  In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat.  Cook shrimp and shallots, stirring until shrimp is pink and shallots are crisp, 2 to 6 minutes, depending on size of shrimp.  Transfer to a bowl.

3.  In the same skillet, add watermelon and 1/4 cup water over high heat, stirring, until liquid becomes syrupy, about 3 minutes. 

4.  Remove skillet from heat; add shrimp mixture, salt and pepper; stir.  Divide shrimp-watermelon mixture among four plates; add cucumber and feta.  Sprinkle with dill.  Use syrup that collects in skillet/bottom of mixed bowl to drizzle salad.  Serve with toasted pita bread.

The Verdict: I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  My husband gave it four out of five stars (his food rating system).  And the Little Critic...

...hated it.

What?!  Before lunch, he was begging to eat the watermelon and the cucumber.  Yet all together, he didn't like "the red stuff" and swore he didn't like cucumbers.  So he ate shrimp and toast.  Imagine me.  Now imagine me shaking my head in frustration.  That's what I'm doing while I write this.

Ignoring my son's comments, this salad is good stuff.  I'd never heard of cooking watermelon before, but when you do it becomes even sweeter, then sweeter still when paired with a bit of salt and the salt in the feta.  Then when you mix slightly crispy shallots with those watery summer foods?  My mouth is watering thinking about it.  An added bonus: fairly quick to whip up.

If you have a nice backyard with a patio set you can serve food on, buy yourself a good chillable wine, invite friends over, make this dish, and become their hero.  Seriously.  They'll think you're a genius. 

Here's hoping the "I hate everything" stuff is a phase for the Little Critic.  Because if you don't think this is the definition of yummy, I don't know what to say.

1 comment:

  1. I think it sounds divine and will be trying it soon. Thank you for sharing the recipe. As for the I hate everything phase - my nephew went through it as well at one point. He would only eat chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, and meatloaf. LOL! But he has grown out of it for the most part. Though he still hates tomatoes which he used to fight me over at the dinner table when he was 2. It's so funny to watch them grow up.