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Just in time for you to get all virtuous and stuff! after weeks of refined-carb bingeing.

I can’t think of many cookbooks more necessary right now than whole-grains cookbooks.  When someone hands you a package of spelt berries, even if you know what to do with them it’s just hard to get inspired (hey! I would really like to see that on Iron Chef! I mean, if I had TV I would).  You can’t even deep-fry them or coat them in chocolate.   It is, however, possible to apply bacon.

The authors use this maneuver and lots more (like the liberal use of a variety of vinegars) to make whole grains palatable and yes, in some cases, memorable.

Click here to read today’s review of Grain Mains in the Boston Globe.

roast corn, shrimp salad

The book:  Grain Mains, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Rodale, $24.99)

The recipe:  Roasted corn and shrimp “ceviche”

Why I tried itI happened to be testing this book during corn season – a hot, dry week when I didn’t really feel like eating a steaming bowl of whole grains (though I tested and liked many in this book).  Although I’d never thought of corn as a whole grain, this easy salad looked like a good bet for a quick weeknight dinner.  No soaking overnight or boiling for an hour!

Why I loved it:  I was totally unprepared for the blast of flavor the shrimp picked up from what are, after all, some pretty predictable ingredients: lime, red onion, cilantro.  The radish and the jalapeño contributed a lively bite, and I found myself repeatedly going back to the bowl for a couple more forkfuls.  It was so good–and so easy–that I scaled it up for some 16 or so of us at a family reunion a couple weeks later (along with the addictive matzo candy), and it was just as good.

Can you make it in the winter, when there’s no fresh corn to be had? I think so, though I haven’t tried.  I would take frozen corn and thaw it and dry it super-thoroughly on towels.  Then I’d toss it in some oil and spread it out in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet for the broiling step.  It ought to work, if you can get the corn dry enough.  Let me know, if you try!

Estimated preparation time: 30 leisurely minutes, if you aren’t obliged to devein the shrimp first.
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Roasted corn and shrimp “ceviche”
Serves 4

4 ears of corn, husked
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 radishes, minced
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Position the rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler heat source and preheat the broiler.

2. Lay the corn on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the oil in a bowl, then spread them on the baking sheet, too. Broil, turning both the corn and shrimp, until the corn is lightly browned on all sides and the shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes.

3. Cool the corn and shrimp a few minutes, then slice the kernels off the cobs. Dice the shrimp. Add both to a large nonreactive bowl. Stir in everything else: the onion, cilantro, radishes, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Set aside at room temperature to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Grain Mains © 2012 by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Rodale Press.

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