Cold, make-ahead salads with lots of fresh vegetables are great for hot summer days and nights. This is a favorite of ours and our friends here in France that I adapted from Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That? cookbook. The original recipe calls for lobster and while the salad is slightly better with lobster, I used shrimp instead for a more affordable and less labor-intensive version (thanks for the suggestion Cecile).
This summer salad is very refreshing and a total hit at barbecues and picnics. Great on its own as a lovely lunch or served as a side to whatever you are grilling, it is packed with flavor and texture. The recipe is simple, but takes a little time from cutting off the kernels of corn and cleaning the shrimp.
I was asked if it would be okay to use canned corn – I strongly urge using fresh corn, but use canned if you cannot find fresh. And feel free to use lobster instead of shrimp or to cut the recipe in half for a smaller group. The salad stays good for a few days in the refrigerator.
Summery Shells and Shrimp Salad
Active time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
*Let chill at least 4 hours before serving
1 pound (500 g) small pasta shells (so the corn can get inside them)
Kernels from 6 ears of corn (about 4 cups)
5 stalks of celery
1 ½ orange or yellow peppers (or both)
1 ½ pints (400 g) cherry tomatoes
3 cups (300 g) cooked shrimp, deveined (or use cooked lobster meat)
1 cup (230 g) good mayonnaise
¾ cup (230 g) light sour cream or crème fraiche
½ cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (25 g) fresh dill, minced
Ground black pepper
Put 1 tablespoon each of salt and olive oil in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the kernels of corn off the cobs and into a bowl. Add the corn to the pasta and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and corn into a colander and rinse with cold water.
Prepare the other vegetables and shrimp. Thinly slice the scallions and celery, seed and cut the peppers into small cubes and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the shrimp (or lobster) in 1/2-inch chunks. Put the vegetables and shrimp in a large bowl and add the cooled pasta and corn. Toss gently to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, 3 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper until smooth. Pour over the pasta and stir gently. Stir in the minced dill and another tablespoon of salt.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving – this lets the flavors blend together. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
And bon appétit!
Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe in the Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? cookbook