Tonight all three of us prepared the meal. It was Friday and all of us were just ready to relax at home. Theodore had chosen a dish – Grilled Spice-Rubbed Shrimp Nicoise Salad – from the recent Food Network magazine. That title is a mouthful and so was the dish, a delicious mouthful of great flavors!

Start filling a large bowl halfway with ice water and set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted cold water to a boil. Add 4 ounces each of yellow wax beans and green beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just crisp-tender. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking. Let sit in the ice water for a few minutes, and then drain well.

Meanwhile, put 1 pound of fingerling potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with salted cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked through (a knife or skewer inserted into the center should meet just a little resistance), 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and let cool slightly.

Next, heat your grill to high.  While the grill is heating up, slice the potatoes lengthwise, brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill in a fry pan so that they don’t fall through the grate and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, tossing periodically. The potatoes should be cooked about 5 minutes and then removed from the gill. Keep the grill on.

Combine the cooked beans, grilled potatoes, 8 ounces of grape or cherry tomatoes, the onion, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and parsley in a large bowl. Ad the vinaigrette and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the shrimp.  The vinaigrette is made by mixing 1/4 cup wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon anchovy paste, a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Finally, make a spice rub for the shrimp. To make the spice rub, combine 4 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons of coriander with a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.

Put the shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the spice rub until evenly coated. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and toss to coat. Place the shrimp on the grates of the grill in an even layer and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.

What made this meal so delicious was the fact that all of us were working together in the kitchen. It was a great way to just relax on a Friday night. We opened a bottle of wine and later on in the evening watched a movie. But I think that the best part of the evening was working together as a family!
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