Get the Recipe
I know, this salad screams summer, and most of us are already slurping down pumpkin lattes and hot soup. But warm weather will come again, and when that first watermelon pops up at the market, you'll know what to do. Chef Sean Brock's salad from his new book, Heritage, hits all the right notes: the melon is sweet and juicy, the onions are bracing, the vinaigrette is spicy and tangy, and the pickled shrimp are...all of the above. They are the stars of this show, and beneath their overt pickliness (can that be a word?), they're masterfully spiced and complexly flavored. Brock serves them on their own as a bar snack at Husk, but they really shine with the mellowing, balancing effects of the fruit and dressing here. The components of the salad come together in a way that is simply perfect.
Why I picked this recipe: I love watermelon with salty pairings, and I'd never pickled my own shrimp.
What worked: The balance of flavors is lovely. The vinaigrette, of which you'll have plenty leftover, is light, lively, and, as it happens, delicious over fish.
What didn't: This was obviously not the recipe's fault, but just a heads-up: some of my Gulf shrimp were horribly iodine-y, which was amplified by the pickling, resulting in bites that tasted exactly like floor cleaner.
Suggested tweaks: Don't try to tell yourself that pickling may neutralize/cover up an iodine taste in your shrimp; learn from my mistake, and give them a good sniff before you buy them. (And note that the pickled shrimp need to cure for at least 2 days.) To take this salad into the colder months, I think suprémes of an orange would sub in very nicely for the watermelon here.
Thanks to our friends at Artisan, we have 5 copies of Heritage to give away this week.