Shrimp remoulade salad topped with bacon, spinach, white corn, cucumbers and baby spinach
One of the fundamental tenets of being a good international lady of leisure requires being skilled at a coffee morning. Coffee mornings are as ubiquitous to me here now as a 9:00 am conference call used to be -- a way to check in with my compatriots and gab a little about the current state of affairs.
When I arrived here two years ago, I have to admit that I thought there'd be a little more fanfare -- you know, maybe not the full red carpet and paparazzi line, but at least a velvet rope and a nice little cocktail reception. Of course, none of that happened (shocker), and so a few weeks later I found myself conspiring with a new friend over how we might make our own fun.
Watermelon & feta salad with mint, garnished with lemon zest and olive oil
That's when she and I crafted our own Coffee Mornings, inviting new ladies we met in our various comings-and-goings (which often frequently involved going to other people's Coffee Mornings). We wanted to build a network of friends, eat some good food, and of course, caffeinate.
Vietnamese summer rolls with chicken, mango & avocado
Last week I hosted my last Coffee Morning as an International Lady of Leisure. I wanted to go out with a flourish, so I made foods that have had significance for me over the last two years. I revisited a watermelon & feta salad, a dish I took to our first party here, adding lemon zest and olive oil as a dressing. I assembled Vietnamese summer rolls that I learned to make while living here, and addded a twist by substituting the usual pork and shrimp with chicken, mango and avocado. For our "main," I took the remoulade sauce I made in spades for a shrimp boil and scaled it down to a more manageable, dainty salad for the ladies. And, for my go-to classic Coffee Morning dish, I made the Barefoot Contessa's cheddar-dill scones (if you haven't had them, you need to make them now. Immediately. Go. I'll wait for you).
The best, most decadent scones ever: cheddar and dill, and oh, lots of heavy cream
There was a berry crisp with creme anglaise too, which I made because a friend of mine recently moved to Paris and left me with the precious contents of her freezer, including three bags of frozen berries. Of course, in my excitement to eat and catch up with friends, I forgot to take photos. I suppose a recipe for my shrimp remoulade salad will just have to do. I hope that works.
Question: what are your favorite breakfast/brunch recipes? I think Coffee Mornings can be a weekend thing, too, after we move home, and I'd love to hear yours!
(After the jump, my salad recipe.)
Shrimp Remoulade Salad (serves 4-6)
For the salad:
1 bag (around 3 cups of loosely packed) of baby spinach, washed and dried
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed from cob
1/2 English cucumber (or Japanese kyuri)
4-6 slices bacon
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and dried with paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
For the remoulade dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (juice squeezed from about a half a lemon)
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Old Bay or Cajun seasoning (adjust more to taste)
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
1/4 cup minced green onion
2 sprigs parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients for remoulade dressing, adding water if needed to reach desired consistency, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to one day.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place slices of bacon on an ungreased baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast bacon in oven until crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan until shimmering but not smoking. Toss shrimp with salt and pepper, then saute until pink and cooked through. In a medium bowl, add shrimp and 1/2 of the remoulade dressing. Toss to coat.
In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, corn, and cucumbers. Top with shrimp. Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top.