Posts tagged #shrimp

I brake for farm stands: smoky corn and shrimp chowder recipe

All may not be right with the world in these modern times, but some things still are. If you want to be reassured of it, just drive down a country back road in midsummer.

That’s what I found out last week when I travelled along memory lane—or should I say, lanes. I rambled off the beaten path on a leisurely drive through rural New Jersey close to where I grew up. Did I mention that I brake for farm stands? I had my eyes peeled, determined to haul back some famous Jersey corn before I hit the highway for my long ride back to Boston.

I didn’t find any farm stands, but what I did come across were side-of-the-road vegetables. You’ve seen them, the fruits of someone’s summer vegetable patch piled on a wobbly old card table, or in a basket set upon another upside-down basket, filled with corn or squash, cucumbers, tomatoes. You’d see a sign written on a piece of cardboard with a black sharpie, or sometimes a fancier white board: cucumbers, 2 for $1.00, cantaloupes, $2.00 each (and they are huge), white peaches in a cardboard basket—

please leave the basket

—$2.00. Dribble down your chin sweet peaches that make you want cry. Why didn’t I bring home more peaches?

Leave your money in the box, we trust you.

If that doesn’t restore your faith in human goodness, then I’m not sure what will.

The Jersey corn of my youth was just as sweet and tender as I remembered. I had enough to grill a few extra ears with

these shrimp skewers

, and then turned the excess into smoky corn chowder. Corn and shrimp, corn and lobster, these are summer indulgences that must be paired before the summer wanes. And when eaten together, for a few moments all is right with the world again.

You could add cream to this soup, but it’s really not necessary. Puree some of the soup in a blender and then add it back to the pot—all the creaminess you could want comes from the starchy sweet corn. Take a few extra minutes to boost the corn flavor with stock made from the cobs. You could make this chowder with any leftover corn, but grilled corn gives it a smoky, intense flavor

.

Size and sweetness of corn varies a lot at this time of year, so your yield may be greater if you use large ears. Leftover soup can be frozen. (If you leave out the shrimp, you can even make this a vegan chowder.) If you skip the shrimp, another option would be to  add some finely diced salt pork sautéed with the onion and celery; that would add a nice contrast to the sweetness of the corn. It's a very good recipe to tinker with.

Smoky corn chowder recipe

Makes 8 to 10 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely diced

2 medium potatoes, (10 ounces total) peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice

Kernels cut from 6 medium ears of grilled corn

5 cups water, chicken stock or corn stock (see below)

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 grilled shrimp

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the potatoes, corn kernels, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

2. Puree 3 cups of the soup until smooth in a blender. Stir back into the soup pot. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like.

3. Coarsely chop 4 of the shrimp.

4. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Garnish each bowl with some chopped shrimp and 1 whole shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Once you have scraped away the kernels, you can use the corncobs for a delicious stock.

Corn stock recipe

Makes 5 to 6 cups

6 corncobs (without kernels), broken in half

1/2 onion, sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced

2 to 3 sprigs parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Place the corncobs, onion, celery, parsley and salt in a large pot. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Strain.

How to grill corn on the cob

There are several ways to go about this, but I like the following. Grilling concentrates the flavors, and the cooked corn is often slightly drier than it would be if cooked in boiling water. When left on the ears, the husks insulate the corn and it more or less steams on the grill. Some people like to soak the corn in water for about 15 minutes before grilling, but I usually skip that step in pursuit of drier, charred kernels. Once the corn is cooked, peel back the husks. If the kernels are not charred to your liking, simply throw the ears back on the grill for a few seconds.

1.

Prepare a charcoal grill, or turn on a gas grill to medium-high heat.

2.

Peel back and discard a few tough outer leaves of the cornhusks, leaving a few layers of husks for insulation. Peel back the top third of the husks and pull out most of the silk; don’t worry if you can’t remove all of it. Fold the husks back to their original shape.

3. Grill the corn, turning often, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it is black and charred all over. Cut off the stem ends of the ears and peel off the husks and silk.

You could also microwave it (watch 

this!

) fun!

You might also like

grilled corn with chipotle mayonnaise

 or

Soaked and grilled corn from the

New York Times

Posted on August 2, 2012 and filed under Main dish, Seafood, Soups, Summer food.

Grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers recipe: easy summer grilling

Hail summer. Are you grill-weary yet? I love grilling, especially ever since that job was delegated to Man of the House ages ago when he insisted on replacing our corroded gas grill with a charcoal-fired Weber. I’m not about to get into the fray in the charcoal vs. gas debate. My point of view is: when it’s hot, keep the heat in the great outdoors. If you want to use charcoal, be my guest. All I want is to turn the damn thing on and cook. Go ahead, be techy-geeky-analytical if you must, but I don’t want to talk about it. Like I said, all I want is to turn the damn thing on and cook.

So in the division of labor department, I came up with these easy shrimp skewers. The rosemary plant in my little herb patch miraculously survived a New England winter and it is now a bush. That gave me the idea of putting the overabundant branches to good use. Hence, shrimp on rosemary skewers. They impart a subtle piney essence to grilled shrimp. Note the word subtle here. Don’t get too excited. Since they’re essentially free and available to me, I’m using them. You could also use bamboo skewers as an alternative; both need to be soaked in water in advance of grilling.

The recipe, which I contributed to the Boston Globe recently, is a good one for a party. (It can be doubled or even tripled.) The shrimp need to steep in a lemon-mustard-honey marinade for 45 minutes, but if it is more convenient, they can marinate for a couple of hours. Save some of the marinade for the zucchini. The zucchini wedges are easy to grill without skewering. Add some grilled corn and you have a meal that is easy to prep ahead of time. Once the work is done, you can sit back and mix up a few gin and tonics, if that’s your poison.

Grilled shrimp on rosemary branches with zucchini wedges and corn

Serves 6

12 (10-inch) rosemary branches

5 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 pounds large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled, with tail shells left on

2 large (10-inch) zucchini, ends trimmed and halved crosswise

6 (or  more) ears of corn

1. Strip the leaves from all but the tips of the rosemary branches. In a baking dish, soak the branches in water to cover for 30 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, soak them for 30 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, lemon rind, garlic, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, parsley and rosemary. Whisk in the oil. Set aside about 1/4 of the marinade. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes. On each rosemary branch, thread 3 to 4 shrimp, piercing both the thick and curled ends of the shrimp.

3. Quarter each zucchini half lengthwise to make a total of 16 wedges. In a baking dish, arrange the wedges in one layer with the cut sides up. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and brush with the remaining marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes or longer.

4. Peel back and discard the outer tough layer of the corn husks, leaving a few layers for insulation. Peel back the top third of the husks and pull out most of the silk; don’t worry if you can’t remove all of it. Fold the husks back to their original shape.

5. Prepare a charcoal grill, or turn on a gas grill to medium-high heat.

6. Grill the corn, turning often, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until charred all over. Grill the zucchini wedges for 3 minutes on a side, turning once, until cooked through. Grill the shrimp for 2 minutes on a side, turning once, until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.

7. Cut off the stem ends of the corn ears and peel back the husks and silk. Arrange 1 ear on each of 6 plates with zucchini wedges and shrimp skewers.

Posted on July 26, 2012 and filed under Seafood, Main dish, Grilled.

Balance the scales with a quick shrimp pasta dish

Ah, the week of reckoning. I don’t know about you, but the last week in December brings about hope and regret in equal measure. 

Let’s start with the regret. It can be as simple as

“Why did I eat that? Why, oh, why did I eat that? Or so much of it?”

Those dastardly scales tell the tale. This is possibly the easiest regret to remedy. It’s an age-old formula: Eat less. Exercise more. Let’s see how we can complicate that by spending more money on a new diet book (the hope part) and then recall how we already overspent (the regret part, piled upon the first regret part.)

Then there are the other regrets. I stopped counting the things that didn’t happen that I had hoped for this year.

Well, that’s how the cookie crumbles,

I say to myself as kindly as possible. These are not so easy to remedy, but there is no currency in hashing them over. So, I am going to take a very deep breath and think:

Things are no more imperfect this week than they usually are; I am just pulling out the scales—and I don’t mean the ones I step on most mornings. If am hard on myself all year long, I can have a really good beat-myself-up fest at the end of the year just for good measure. This year I don’t want to give in to that.

I have decided to focus on hope. I’ve revised the way I think of that, too. I’m trying not to hope for specifics, such as a huge influx of cash (oops, I’m always hoping for that). Instead, I guess you could say, I’m hoping for more peace. Wherever the chips fall, please God, let me be at peace with it. That is not to say that I won’t peddle as fast as I can to try for the things I need and want, but I would like, just for once, to be satisfied with and grateful for whatever comes of my efforts.

That narrows my new year’s resolutions to one. So much easier to keep track of one.

As for the eat less, exercise more bit, that’s not so much a resolution as a way of life. It’s kind of ongoing, and I am always trying to recommit to it. So, in that vein, I offer you a recipe for a quick, easy pasta with shrimp that is also very healthy. You can make it:

During a snow storm

When you have not gone shopping again

, but have stashed some shrimp in your freezer, and manage to have some olives, too.

When you have leftover shrimp cocktail from your New Year’s Eve party

When you convince yourself that the skinny strands of angel hair pasta will make you skinny too

When you really can’t think of what else to make and have almost no time in which to make it

When you are trying to counter balance all the unhealthy meals you just consumed (you could even buy whole wheat pasta if you want to be a good doobie)

Since shrimp arrive in our markets frozen, you should buy them that way and defrost them yourself (overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes) unless you are certain you will be cooking them on the same day you purchase them. A stash of shrimp in the freezer can help with a last minute dinner dilemma, too. (You can skip the fennel in an emergency, but try not to.)

To determine how many pounds you need, look for a number, which is more meaningful than a “large” or “jumbo” label. For example “U-15” stand for “under 15,” which means fewer than 15 per pound; “10/15” means there are between ten and fifteen shrimp per pound. This knowledge puts you in the driver’s seat when you are deciding upon the size you want.

A quick homemade tomato sauce is much more satisfying than that tired old sauce from a jar, and it tastes a lot cleaner and fresher too. Buy good quality whole tomatoes like San Marzano (I like Bella, which I buy locally) and break them up in a bowl with your hands. Don’t get me started on those cans of ‘crushed tomatoes.”  I don’t like them one bit because the are dense and heavy and will not give you the clean and lovely taste of tomatoes that a good can of plain ol’ San Marzanos will.

Angel hair pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and olives (Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut in thin slices

Salt

Pepper

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 can (28-ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl

1 pound angel hair pasta

1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

12 very large peeled shrimp, cooked or uncooked, cut in half on a sharp diagonal

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. In a large (12-inch) skillet with deep sides, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the fennel, season with salt and pepper, and cook until it begins to soften but does not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and cook at a gentle simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for two minutes, until it is tender but still has a little bite. Drain in a colander.

3. Add the olives and shrimp to the tomato sauce and stir over medium heat. If you are using cooked shrimp, cook until hot through, about 1 minute. If you are using uncooked shrimp, add them and cook a little longer, until they are opaque in the center. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

4. Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among four shallow bowls. Sprinkle each with chopped parsley.

p.s. the sauce is really good as an omelet filling or with scrambled or poached eggs, if you have any left

Posted on December 29, 2010 and filed under Main dish, Seafood, Pasta.