Sunday, August 4, 2013

Please Welcome Guest Leslie Budewitz - Shrimp! Salad

Thanks. Mystery Lovers, for inviting me – I brought dinner!

Summer comes slowly to the mountain valleys of Northwest Montana, but it is worth the wait. Gloriously long days – we’re at 48 degrees of latitude, and the sky lightens way before I’m up, and gives us splendid evenings to sail, or to relax on the deck with a leisurely dinner. Not too hot, either. This shrimp and vegetable salad is a meal-in-a-bowl that won’t keep you slaving over a hot stove, and keeps well. I like to use a mix of herbs–what ever is fresh in the pots on the deck. And it’s perfect for a summer potluck!

 (A 2-pound bag of shrimp from Costco is just right for this salad – but don’t tell Erin Murphy, my protagonist. She worked as a grocery buyer at fictional competitor SavClub before coming home to Jewel Bay, and still shops there whenever she can!)


2 pounds medium shrimp, cooked and peeled, thawed

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ to 2/3 cup olive oil

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 celery heart, with leaves, sliced 1/4 inch thick

6-8 green onions, with about half the green stem, thinly sliced

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4 thick slices (an English cucumber is great, but a garden slicer works well, too)

1 pound or more cherry or grape tomatoes, any color, halved

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1/4 cup, more or less, of fresh herbs: a combination of chives, basil, parsley, and oregano is excellent

Make the dressing: Thaw the shrimp and place in a medium bowl. Combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mustard in a small mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil in slowly, whisking so the dressing doesn’t separate. Pour half the dressing over the shrimp and mix well; cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the vegetables: Cook the beans in boiling water 2-3 minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Chop the remaining vegetables and place all veggies and herbs in a large bowl. Pour in the remaining dressing and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate if you’re making this ahead.

About half an hour before serving, add the shrimp to the vegetables. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or herbs as needed.

To serve: Serve in pasta bowls or mounded on plates. This salad is also nice over mixed greens. Slice up a crunchy loaf of bread, open a bottle of a crisp Pinot Grigio, and raise your glass. Salut!

I hope your summer is as delicious as mine!

Yummy shrimp

Fresh herbs

Chopped ingredients ready to go


A delicious summer salad to enjoy on the deck or patio

Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, debuts from Berkley Prime Crime on August 6. The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as the Food Lovers' Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family's century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin's freshly booming business might turn rotten when a former employee turns up dead.

Leslie is also a lawyer. Her first book, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books) won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, and was nominated for Anthony and Macavity awards.

Leslie lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their Burmese cat, Ruff. See Ruff on the cover of Death al Dente and visit Leslie online at or


  1. Hi, Leslie, and welcome! How handy that I just happen to have a pound of fresh shrimp in my fridge.

    And a very happy book launch to you!

  2. Welcome to the Kitchen, Leslie! I visited Montana only once (in my other life!) hanging with dinosaur hunters at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting at MSU in Bozeman. The sky really did seem to go on forever.

    Montana is a wonderful and unique setting for a cozy mystery series, and I’m looking forward to the official release of your DEATH AL DENTE this week. Big Sky Congrats--and tasty thanks for sharing your recipe, too. (I loves me some shrimp salad, especially with fresh herbs!)

    ~ Cleo

  3. Thanks for the warm welcome! Cleo mentioned paleontology: many of the greatest dinosaur discoveries in the country have been in Montana, from entire T Rex skeletons to clutches of tiny eggs from bird-like creatures! The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman has great displays, for adults and kids.

    I'm off to the Festival of the Arts in Bigfork (Booth 62, if you're looking for me!) but I'll be back in time for dinner -- save me some salad!

  4. Salad looks yummy! Enjoy your festival. I hope you sell out.

  5. Have a great time at the festival Leslie! Looking forward to Tuesday and the release of Death Al Dente!!! I may be almost as excited as you! LOL.

  6. Leslie, welcome! The salad looks delish. So excited about your first book coming out. DEATH AL DENTE. Great title.

    Daryl / Avery

  7. So nice to have you here Leslie--we are beyond excited about the new series. And you make summer sound so lovely in Montana:)

  8. Leslie, congratulations on the release of your book! I can't wait. I'm so happy for you!

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I've been slaving over the grill today, so something nice and cool like this salad is just the ticket!


  9. Wish I had a nice bowl of this right now...
    As my protagonist Erin's mother would say "Mangia, mangia!

    Thanks for having me here today.