A cool dinner for hot nights

June 1 – June 6, 2021

Monday:                   Roasted Broccoli App / Margherita Pizza with Sausage & Onion

Tuesday:                  Grilled Shrimp, Rice Pilaf, Salad

Wednesday:          Marinated Lamb Chops on the Grill

Friday:                       Cold Shrimp in Dill Cream Sauce (ba, June-July, ’21, p. 59)

Sunday:                    Sheet Pan Gnocchi – great dish – wish I’d taken a picture

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a cooking competition on television.  Some are just fine – taking place in large spaces with adequate ventilation.  But most take place in smaller areas where television studio lights, as well as ovens and stove-tops create enough heat to grow bananas.  Inevitably, celebrity chefs, working frantically to complete a dish in a short time, work up a mighty sweat and at some point (I prefer to be out of the room for this) a drop of sweat releases from someone’s nose as they are stirring and staring down into a skillet or pot and falls into the food.

This comes to mind because we’ve had a spell of hot weather in Pittsburgh.  Air-conditioners are humming and we now have the sniffles both outdoors (allergies), and indoors (the dry cold of air-conditioning).  It’s not the kind of weather in which anyone wants to stand over a hot grill outdoors.  On the other hand, steaming up the kitchen is no one’s idea of fun either.

What to do?  My first suggestion is to never get involved in a cooking competition.  My second, is to cook this wonderfully tasty and cool dinner of shrimp in dill cream sauce.

But wait, you say, didn’t you just say that you don’t want to steam up the kitchen?  Well, first allow me to remind you that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.  You’ll want to look into having yours expanded.  And second, boiling shrimp takes just a few minutes and produces less steam than that pot of pasta you just cooked for that chilled pasta salad.  And, thirdly, you will have time, after cooking the shrimp, to take a shower and a short nap before serving your family this irresistible and cool dish.  You can even have it on the screened-in porch after the sun has gone down, if you turn on the overhead fans.

Cold Shrimp in Dill Cream Sauce

(adapted from bon appétit – June/July, 2021)

Timing:                                          20 minutes (30 if you have to thaw the shrimp)

Ingredients:                                           Serves 4

1 ¼ – 1 ½ lb. of large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 lemon, zest removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into strips

1 cup white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Kosher salt (Morton’s) or 3 tablespoons Diamond Crystal

2 celery stalks, sliced into ¼” pieces

¾ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped, plus more for serving

1 head Boston, Bibb, or Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated (or cut hearts of Romaine into bite-sized pieces)


Thaw, peel and devein shrimp, if necessary.  Look – you can buy shrimp peeled and deveined with tails on.  Splurge and do this and cook the shrimp with the tails on, which gives it more savor.

Chop celery, prepare lettuce and keep chilled.

Cook the Shrimp:

Combine lemon zest, vinegar, sugar and salt with 6 cups of water in a large pot.  Add the juice from ½ of the lemon.  Bring to a rolling boil, then remove pan from heat and add the shrimp.  Let the shrimp sit until opaque – about 3 minutes.

Now transfer the shrimp to a plate, make sure they’re mostly dry.  Put plate in freezer for 10 minutes to chill the shrimp.

Discard the cooking liquid.

Assemble the Salad:

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, celery, cream and 3 tablespoons of the dill.  Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half over this and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt.

Arrange the lettuce on a platter and spoon the shrimp mixture on top.  Top with more dill.

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