Chilled Shrimp and Chopped-Tomato Salad with Crisp Garlic Croutons


Chilled shrimp is a party favorite. Here, the shellfish is combined with a chopped salad and garlicky croutons.


  • 3 quarts water

  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon whole peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 5 garlic cloves

  • 2 red bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed

  • 4 ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 ¾ pounds)

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • ½ small red onion, finely diced (about ¾ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh marjoram or oregano

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling, if desired

  • 6 slices rustic bread, crusts removed, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 ½ cups)

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a 5-quart stockpot, combine the water with 2 tablespoons salt, peppercorns, paprika, bay leaves, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes. Add shrimp; stir once. Cook until shrimp are pink and opaque, about 1 1/2 minutes. With a large sieve, transfer shrimp to ice bath. Chill thoroughly, at least 2 minutes, and drain in sieve. Cut each shrimp in half crosswise. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, chop garlic. Remove 2 teaspoons; set aside. Quarter 1 red pepper and 1 tomato; add to remaining garlic in processor. Pulse until a coarse puree forms. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Cut remaining red pepper and 3 tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice, and add to bowl along with cucumber, green pepper, red onion, marjoram, vinegar, and 1/4 cup olive oil; stir to combine.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, and fry half the bread cubes until they just begin to turn crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add half the reserved chopped garlic and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and bread cubes are golden brown, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a large plate, and repeat process with remaining garlic and bread cubes. Just before serving, toss the shrimp and half the croutons into salad mixture, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with more olive oil, if desired. Serve remaining croutons on the side or on top of each portion.

Cook's Notes

We recommend serving this juicy salad as a first course, either alone or accompanied by mixed greens. We used beefsteak tomatoes, but any fresh, ripe tomatoes would be equally delicious.

Cook's Notes

Pack shrimp and croutons separately; prepare the rest of the salad and pack in a portable container. Place shrimp in hosts refrigerator; toss everything together when ready to eat.

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