Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shrimp in Escabeche, and a refusal to let go of summer.

The weather may be saying "fall", but my senses are telling me "summer". How could it be otherwise, when I see mangoes and avocados in the store? Of course, I live in San Diego, where it's kinda hard to tell the seasons anyway. Well, I've gotten better at it, actually. There actually is a difference between summer and fall and winter here. We may not need down parkas in the winter, but we do get to enjoy a prolonged fall. Leaves haven't started turning yet (they won't until November), but the air has changed. But when you can still dine al fresco in the evening, can you truly succumb to fall's harvest foods? They still seem a little to heavy for our current weather. So I'm still eying the salads and seafood like someone who refuses to leave the cruise ship even after we've pulled into home port.

When I found this recipe on epicurious, I knew this was what I was hungering for. This simple recipe turned into a salad by the time I ate it. A salad with my mom's stamp on it, actually. My mom was the one who taught me to add mangoes to a salad to give it a little something extra. Every time I do this, people comment on what a cool idea it is. Thanks, Mom!

So here, without further ado, is a shrimp in escabeche salad.

In Spanish, escabeche refers to placing already cooked seafood into a marinade—a pickling of sorts—but this subtle shrimp salad is gentler than anything you might expect from the term pickled. Complemented by silky thin-sliced onions, the shrimp get their tender-firm texture from slow-poaching followed by marinating.


1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 pound large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, leaving tail intact, and deveined


Toss together onion, vinegar, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow glass or ceramic dish.

Simmer oil, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns in a small saucepan 10 minutes, then let stand until ready to use.

Add shrimp to a medium pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water), then remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain well, then stir into onion mixture along with oil mixture.

Chill shrimp in escabeche, covered when cool, stirring occasionally, at least 12 hours. Discard bay leaves and serve shrimp cold or at room temperature.

Cooks' note: Shrimp in escabeche can be chilled up to 2 days.

My additions: I used a bag of baby spring mix lettuces, an avocado and a mango - both sliced. I served it with a dressing of olive oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper.
Makes 8 servings

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Katie Zeller said...

Looks like a perfect salad! I've been having trouble letting go of summer, too. September was the best summer weather of the year...but Monday the rains came. It's officially fall now.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Lovely combination of flavors. We're already moving into apple season -- which means squash soup and apple pie and all of the root vegetables. So it's nice to have this little reminder of summer.

Unknown said...

Katiez - We had fall for about a week. Now we're back closer to summer, but not quite.

Lydia - I'm looking forward to those foods! But you get to wear wool sweaters, too. I miss that! (People around here think I'm nuts!)

Cynthia said...

All salads should have shrimp or chicken, that way, I'd have them all the time :) Just kidding.

Susan said...

We're still having Indian summer here; sun's down and it's 79 right now. I wish summer would let go of us. : ) Mango and avocado are perfect together AND with shrimp. The simmering bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic must smell wonderful.

Unknown said...

Cynthia - Ah, yes! All of them should have shrimp or chicken. Then there'd be no need for anything else! HAH!

Susan - Indian summer isn't all that bad, I think. The problem is that fall is always the most spectacular season, and anything that shortens it is.....well....annoying!

Stella said...

THat's the first time I hear about escabeche & it looks uber delightful. Though I can't have seafood, I wouldn't mind tasting it;)

Unknown said...

Oh, Valentina, I'm so sorry you can't have seafood! Any kind at all? Or just shellfish? Because I'd bet this would work with fish, too.....

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Your mom was a smart woman. Mangoes make everything better! This is a lovely salad for any time of year.

Anonymous said...

wow, you're having the exact opposite weather to us out there! the calendar and the produce say fall, but the weather's been all about summer (that is until today). Yesterday it was 87! can you believe that? I sure couldn't!
I always forget about mangos. I really ought to try and remedy that...

Unknown said...

Susan and Ann - Yep. Mangoes. They're not just for fruit salad anymore!

Anonymous said...

Here in Chicago, after being almost 90 this weekend and forcing them to stop the Chicago Marathon, it's now struggling to make it into the 50s today. So I'm in total fall mode and planning to roast some chicken tonight. That said, the shrimp looks lovely. Since you're leaving the tails intact, do you treat them as finger food in this salad?

Unknown said...

Yes, Terry, I do treat them as finger food. And it's become our version of fall here, too. There's something about the light that changes, and the mornings are cool and crisp enough to warrant a sweater.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I can't eat shrimp and I wish I could, Toni - it looks so, so good!

Toni said...

Hey Patricia - Welcome back!!!! I've missed you! Wish you could eat shrimp, too...We'd sit down to this salad and some caipirinas and talk!