Some years back I was part of a small group of women known as “recipe club”. We tried to meet monthly and as the host you were responsible for the entire meal, from appetizer through dessert. The most interesting thing about our get togethers was that each dish had to be one that you’d never made before. Some of you might find this to be a little intimidating, but actually it was a great way to try out new things without fear of being judged by your guests. I have fond memories of those meals (and the gossip and laughs) and can’t really think of many failures. At the end of the evening the recipes were handed out and some of them got filed away and others became old favorites.
This recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit) came from one of those dinners. With one bite I knew this was a dish that I would be making again. It’s definitely a salad to serve when summer produce is at its peak and yes, the ingredients (except for the shrimp) are what you find in gazpacho. You could certainly leave out the shrimp, but I think they are a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the caramelized vegetables. Call a few friends, pour some chilled wine, head out to the patio and savor this quintessential summery salad.
Grilled Gazpacho Salad
1 medium head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, deveined but with shells intact
8 firm plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 bunches green onions; root ends trimmed, onions left whole
1 1-pound sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 red bell pepper, quartered, cored
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered, cored
1 1/2 large English hothouse cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise
2 6x3x1-inch slices country-style bread
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 pint)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Set aside 2 garlic cloves for bread slices. Place remaining garlic on double layer of heavy-duty foil; drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over. Fold up and seal packet. Place directly on grill rack and cook until garlic is very tender and golden, about 20 minutes. Open packet; cool garlic.
Toss shrimp (in shells) and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine plum tomatoes, green onions, sweet onion, both bell peppers, and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange cucumber halves and bread slices on baking sheet; brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle all vegetables with salt and pepper. Grill shrimp until just opaque, about 2 1/2 minutes per side; transfer to another bowl and cool. Grill vegetables until crisp-tender, turning frequently, about 3 minutes for plum tomatoes and green onions, 5 minutes for cucumbers, and 15 minutes for sweet onion and bell peppers. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Grill bread slices until just beginning to crisp and grill marks appear, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Rub bread with reserved garlic cloves, then discard garlic cloves.
Peel shrimp; transfer to large bowl. Cut all vegetables and bread into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces; add to shrimp along with any accumulated juices. Stir in grilled garlic cloves and grape tomatoes. Whisk vinegar and remaining 4 tablespoons oil in small bowl; pour over salad and toss to coat. Serves: 6