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Tequila-Grapefruit Shrimp, Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad, Fennel Basil Calamari

Apologies up front for the delay between blog posts, it’s been a busy summer! But these new ideas are sure to bring some inspiration to the table. Summer is rapidly turning into fall and I wanted to make sure that I had some new ideas in the books before my mind switched into squashes, turkey, and savory dishes. I had been itching to do some experimenting for a while and a recent journey to LA brought on the chance to play in a kitchen. In the events leading up to a Saturday night meal with my dear friends Kenny, Erica and their newest addition little Rowan, shrimp had been on my mind. My friend Axel had mentioned something with tequila might be fun and interesting, so I took it and ran.

It was a tough go at Whole Foods with no real dish in mind, so a lot of browsing through the local produce helped drive the dish. I started with the shrimp. Limes, peppers/chilies, and cilantro is where I started, then I found some Grapefruits and that was the beginning of something good. The dish came together like this: Tequila, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, cilantro, garlic, agave nectar, diced sweet peppers, and salt marinaded the shrimp. They were then skewered and grilled. Topped with supremes of grapefruit and sliced avocado. The perfect bite; a shrimp, a supreme of grapefruit, and a slice of avocado. Delicious and perfect for summer.

To accompany the shrimp a few other dishes were constructed. At the store we also ran into some awesomely fresh calamari. Wanting to do something a bit different and out of the box, I again found myself stuck in the produce section. I came across some beautiful fennel and my mind went to Sicily where I had seen calamari & fennel paired. I grabbed some lemons, and remembered that Kenny had oodles of fresh basil growing in his garden. The calamari was cut into rings, the fennel diced in to the same shape along with diced fennel frawn. I added some thin slices of red onion, fresh lemon juice & zest, and a touch of agave nectar. This concoction was sauteed very quickly in some olive oil. It was pretty delicious upon first bite, but was definitely missing something. After some debate, we came to the conclusion that this needed pasta. Keeping the idea, but it’s not quite there yet.

Onto what turned out to be the star of the show. I have made roasted corn salad in the past, but none quite like this. With fresh corn roasting on the grill, I sliced up some beautiful radish and fresh cilantro. Then I added some roasted pine nuts, and large chunks of avocado. Lastly, I grilled some green onions and diced up the char and threw it in to the colorful bowl. Finished with some high quality olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt, this salad was hands down the best dish of the night. You can expect to see this pushed on all my summer offerings!

The meal was completed with some cous cous and roasted peppers. A perfect starch to accompany all the flavors on the plate. There was a ton of vegetables, herbs, and fruit making this a very healthy summer meal. Thanks Kenny, Erica & Rowan for having us!!