Oh... how to make a long story short...? Well, here goes. Last spring I received an email from a stranger. The stranger, from Spain, was wondering how to get in touch with neighbors and close friends of ours. Why, of all people, was he contacting me? He had found them through LivingTastefully. Of course, I was suspicious. Yes, photos of Isla and Jeff have been on LivingTastefully's Passions to Pastry, but I never give last names. What in his search brought him to my blog in the first place? And most of all, were his questions legit or did he have nefarious intentions?
I forwarded the email onto my friends and found that they did know him. José had been a foreign exchange student many years ago and lived with Jeff and his family while attending high school for a year.
OK... I have had all of this explained to me several times -- how he put their names in search engines. But why did I come up? In one of José's searches he found a photo of Jeff and Isla at one of our New Year's Day celebrations. I still don't get it -- especially with nothing more than first names in my postings. But as my daughters always say -- "Mom, you aren't the first to know things." Or, as I'll admit, not the first to understand things, either.
Recently, José and his wife Marisa were in the Twin Cities for a class reunion, from his days as an exchange student. We finally were able to meet and one evening, along with friends Isla and Jeff, José and Marisa joined us for dinner!
Probably the most amazing thing of all, were the photos Marisa showed me of dishes she had prepared from recipes she found on Passions to Pastry.
Grilled Shrimp with Watermelon, Basil, Corn, and Burrata was dinner that night. I'm crazy about this dish. Most important is that you have the freshest summer produce when making this. It may just be getting a little too late for that.
+ Grilled Shrimp with Watermelon, Basil, Corn, and Burrata
slightly adapted recipe from Joseph Lenn | Blackberry Farm
• 4 ears of corn, shucked
• Canola oil, for brushing
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like to get 5 shrimp per person)
• 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 4 tablespoons finely sliced basil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 3 - 4 cups watermelon balls or cubes
• 2 balls burrata, halved, at room temperature
• Fleur de Sel for finishing
1. Brush the corn with canola oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a grill over medium-high heat and sear the corn lightly on all sides. Remove from heat and let cool briefly. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and set aside.
3. In a small dish, combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Pour over the roasted corn. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons sliced basil and toss gently. Fold in the watermelon balls. Adjust seasonings and add a little more olive oil if needed.
4. Thread the shrimp on wooden skewers that have been soaked in cold water (I put 5 large shrimp on each skewer). Grill the shrimp over medium-high heat for approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side or until pink with the ends curled.
5. To plate the salad: Divide the corn-watermelon mixture between 4 large plates. Place shrimp skewers on top along with a halved burrata nearby. Drizzle the burrata with some really good extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
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