Whenever I contemplate becoming a sworn vegetarian, I think of shrimp. Shrimp make me happy. Maybe because my grandma (the love of my life) has a thing for them, too. And Ursula. Remember that scene in The Little Mermaid when Ursula grabs the lazy shrimp (or shrimp-looking creature anyway) that didn’t scurry away from her approaching hand and devours it? That part always made me hungry. And like many women in their 30s, The Little Mermaid and my grandma are pretty much responsible for the person I am today.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I figured it was time to take matters into my own tentacles (that one was for the true fans) and make a grilled dish that both my grandma and I will be more than happy to sink our teeth into. Plus, Florida peaches are still going strong, so get them while you can. I’ve been finding them at the Farmers’ Market, Whole Foods, and Detwiler’s.
Herbs like cilantro and basil are time-honored for being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and supporting heart health. Making a chimichurri or pesto sauce is a great way to get a concentration of these healthy benefits.
Shrimp are a surprisingly healthy choice when choosing animal proteins. Most notably is their high concentration of the antioxidant selenium, which prevents cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Although shrimp are high in cholesterol, recent research has not concluded whether or not shrimp should be avoided because of cholesterol levels. It is known, however, that shrimp have a beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, which is important in combating obesity and high blood pressure. Eating animal proteins in moderation is always the best way to limit health concerns. To find out which shrimp are the most environmentally friendly, visit seafoodwatch.org.
Rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, peaches are among the most beneficial fruits. Especially the skin. This can be tricky, though, as peaches are often heavily sprayed with pesticides to protect the sweet, delicate flesh from bugs. And finding organic peaches can be a challenge. I recommend seeking out a local farmer who opts not to spray their fruit. King Family Farm in Bradenton is a good resource, but not always easy to get your hands on. If you can’t find someone who doesn’t spray, then you may want to peel the skin off to minimize exposure, or scrub the peaches well to at least get the residue off the surface. Since the season is so short, I accept the pesticide risk and enjoy one of nature’s most delicious fruits. I think you should, too.
- ¼ cup packed basil
- ¼ cup packed cilantro
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 peaches, pitted and quartered
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Combine basil, cilantro, oil, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, water, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set chimichurri aside.
- Heat grill to high. Thread shrimp and peaches on grill-safe skewers. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Grill until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
- Arrange skewers on a serving platter and drizzle with chimichurri.
About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.