With the advent of Labor Day weekend, summer may officially be coming to a close, but our gardens, more bountiful than ever, don't seem to have gotten the memo. Ripe red tomatoes, juicy eggplants, tender new potatoes and sweet peppers abound, and it takes little more than a splash of olive oil to make complete meals that are the embodiment of late summer.
If you're entertaining for Labor Day weekend, try the recipe below, which features simple grilled shrimp and some of late summer's produce stars, themselves grilled, boiled and raw. They mingle with garlic in a mild tomato and basil vinaigrette that provides piquancy without drowning out the refreshing qualities of the California Sauvignon Blanc we suggest you pour alongside. The wine's balance of crisp acidity, nuanced aromatics and echoes of summer fruit make it a natural pairing with this hyper-seasonal dish. We've provided a list of recently rated selections below.
Grilled Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Salad
• 3/4 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
• 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices
• Salt to taste
• 2 green or red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise
• 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
• 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Place potatoes in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into bite-size chunks and set aside.
2. Sprinkle both sides of each eggplant slice with salt and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Wipe off excess moisture.
3. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill eggplant slices and peppers until nicely charred and easily pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool, then cut each into bite-size pieces.
4. While vegetables cool, toss tomato chunks with a few pinches of salt and place in a colander over a nonreactive bowl, into which you have placed the garlic. Let sit for about 30 minutes, gently tossing occasionally, to release the maximum amount of tomato water.
5. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. Strain the tomato water and discard the garlic. To the strained tomato water, add the vinegar, mayonnaise and oil and whisk well to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator, fold in basil and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
6. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Serve hot shrimp alongside vegetable mixture. Serves 4 to 6.
RECOMMENDED CALIFORNIA SAUVIGNON BLANCS
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases priced at $25 or less. More California Sauvignon Blancs can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.