Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's a Scorcher

Mercy sakes, it's hot. Turn on a fan, someone.

This is not a day for the stove. No, thanks. I need to sit in an overstuffed chair on our sun porch, barefoot, with a glass of iced tea in my hand. I'll stare out the window at the lizards running along our fence line, sipping, while the fan blades turn slowly overhead.

Once, when I was a kid in Texas, I actually tried to fry an egg on a sidewalk on a day like this. Texans appreciate expressions like, "it's hot enough out there to fry an egg on the sidewalk." Hyperbole comes naturally to us (everything's bigger in Texas, hadn't you heard?).

Being a curious child, or perhaps just a tad literal-minded, I had to try this out for myself. One August afternoon, as the temperature settled around 102, I scooped a cold brown egg out of its styrofoam container in the fridge and ducked out our front door. As cicadas buzzed in the trees, I tip-toed out to the sidewalk, which was hot enough to burn my feet a bit. I cracked the egg onto the dusty concrete and crouched, waiting.

And what happened, you ask? Did the egg fry?

The edges began to turn white--it was cooking! And then, as quickly as it began, the experiment crashed to a halt. The Hitzelberger's dog ran up and gulped the egg down with one slurp of his pink tongue.

So the theory is yet untested. Some other eight year old out there will have to resume the experiment in more controlled conditions.

Shrimp, Tzatziki and Feta Salad
Adapted from this recipe in Bon Appetit

1 cup Greek-style yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
1 cup 1/4-inch cubes English hothouse cucumber
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus additional for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 1/4 teaspoons aniseed, finely crushed, divided
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a medium bowl, make the tzatziki by combining the yogurt, cucumber, dill, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, shallots, and 3/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed. Season the tzatziki generously with salt and pepper. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed aniseed. Add the shrimp to the skillet and saute until they are pink and beginning to curl. Chill the cooked shrimp in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the spinach among 4 plates and drizzle with the additional lemon juice and olive oil. Add several shrimp to each plate and spoon the tzatziki generously over the shrimp. Sprinkle each plate with feta cheese and serve.

Serves: 4


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

It sure was a scorcher over on this coast today! Your shrimp salad looks like the perfect way to beat the heat. Love it!

Grace said...

ha--great story. that experiment definitely needs to be attempted again! this seems like a perfectly appropriate meal for a toasty day--very nice. :)

Kelly said...

OOh that looks delish..
Thats funny about the dog scarfing up the egg..I bet it will be hot enough here this summer when the 'death weather' rolls around. I will have Lily (who is 8 btw) go out and continue this experiment.. :)
I will make sure my dog is no where around..hahah

Jimi said...

hahah, thanks for sharing Sarah.

EAT! said...

Looks like my kind of salad for a hot day. I'll be needing this for dinner later when it is over 90 degrees.

Giff Constable said...

I'll definitely be trying this sometime soon :)