Friday, July 11, 2014

Spicy Shrimp Caprese with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Summer and caprese go together like iPhone and plug-in, Mika and Joe, ice cream and hot fudge, or pick your simile.  This is true at my house and perhaps it is at yours.  It may be more true (is that possible) if you live in the places where the juicy, sweet tomatoes appear each year -- Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota,  or add your state here _______________.  This is not true in Colorado where our nights are cool, rain is sketchy at best, and the growing season is oh, about a month long.  Maybe two.

Typically I plant cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets on the deck.  This is to make sure my tomatoes aren't breakfast for the neighborhood herd of deer.  This year I put them in pots and will hope the bears don't climb my cherry tree to get on the deck for the grill grease or tomatoes.  This is not a joke.

This picture was taken today, July 11.  Yes, I just have blossoms now.

So, no, my tomatoes aren't from my garden.  I live on solid bedrock near the hills, in sight of the mountains, where the critters proliferate.  I, in fact, live on Fed Ex food with the exceptions of things like my potted herbs,  Colorado peaches (front the far western part of the state, not here), trout (you need someone who fishes), buffalo (easily available), lamb (the best in the world, but seldom available here except through internet sales), and....well, I can't think of a lot more.  There are microclimates around Colorado Springs where a few beautiful things are grown and I'm able to buy them at the Farmer's Market if the weather has cooperated.   Take it from me, tomatoes aren't on the tiny list of local --as in the whole state -- products; if they're available, they're few, precious, and definitely not like the jewels from Minnesota or Illinois. (below:  a pic borrowed from a neighbor)

Still, I make caprese because it's a perfect summer food.  It's also the quintessential no-cook-for-one dinner.  Try this:

spicy shrimp caprese with lemon-balsamic vinaigrette
serves 1-2, depending on hunger...  and multiplies endlessly

  • 1 cup fresh greens, your choice
  • 6-10 cooked shrimp--grilled, sautéed, boiled, or already cooked from store- (seasoned with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper)
  • 8-10 slices each fresh mozzarella (approx 1/4 pound) and small, ripe tomatoes
  • 8-10 Fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon (use the other half for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon each balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil or to taste

Spread the greens out evenly around the edges of a dinner plate.  Layer alternating slices of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves in the center of the greens.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add a few shrimp to each side of the salad.  Squeeze lemon over all and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil.  Serve immediately garnished with lemon.  (Leftovers are edible, but not beautiful the next day.)

Wine:  Ice cold Riesling, off-dry or Chenin Blanc.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,


  1. Thanks Ayce,
    This is definitely my cup of tea!


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