It's hard to beat a party at the coast, especially when shrimp's on the grill
Cooking at the beach is more fun than trouble these days, with the large array of totable barbecues ― both charcoal and gas ― available. And throwing some shrimp on one is so easy it has become a cliché in the best sense. We've added a dip to serve with veggies to start the meal and a great, packable summer salad to go on the side.
A few tricks make everything fresher and tastier: Make your own hummus; it takes little time and is far better than most kinds you can buy. Cure the shrimp briefly in salt and sugar to tenderize and flavorize, then transport them on skewers in their marinade. Carry the salad in layers, then dress and mix it at the beach.
Finally, get creative with s'mores for dessert. Marshmallows melt as well over a grill as over a fire, and sandwiched with yummy new layers ― chocolate wafer cookies and strawberries, for instance ― they make watching the sun set over the water extra sweet.
Next: Packing tips
• Hummus. Spoon into a small, widemouthed container with a lid. Nestle in a larger, shallow container, arrange vegetables alongside, and snap lid over everything. Seal pocket bread into a zip-lock plastic bag. Transport hummus and veggies in a cooler. To serve, just remove lids and tuck the bag of bread alongside the vegetables.
• Shrimp. Lay skewered shrimp in a sturdy, shallow container with a lid (no matter how heavy, plastic bags don't stand up to skewers). Carry in a cooler.
• Salad. Layer in a wide, shallow plastic bowl (31/2 to 5 qt.) with a lid, and put in cooler. Bring the dressing in a sealable jar (no need to keep cold en route).
• S'mores. Pack sliced strawberries in a small, rigid container with a lid, and keep cold. Jars of marmalade or lemon curd and packages of cookies and marshmallows don't need special handling.
Dry rosé or Sauvignon Blanc. The shrimp are both sweet and salty, so they call for some soft, round fruit balanced with crispness in a wine. Bonny Doon Vineyards' Ca' del Solo Big House Pink ($10) meshes perfectly and is a great toes-in-the-sand beverage; Joel Gott's Napa Valley Three Ranches Sauvignon Blanc ($18) works well too.