Thursday, July 1, 2010

Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp with Sauteed Greens with Bacon

Today I made an expedition down to Chelsea Market, which is one of my favorite foodie meccas in NYC that I rarely visit.  I'm not really sure why we never go down there, except that it is kind of a trek and somehow I just forget about it.  But I had to make the trip down there to pick up some meat I ordered from Dickson's Farmstand Meats.  While I was there I was like a kid in a candy store today.  I came home with all sorts of things - cheese from Lucy's Whey, an assortment of Italian ingredients from Buon Italia (guanciale, bottarga, and calamari-shaped pasta anyone?), seafood from The Lobster Place, a raspberry-basil popsicle from People's Pops (well that didn't make it home, but it was delicious), and a ton of meat from Dickson's (duck breasts, a variety of sausages, bacon, ground beef, etc.).  I actually had to talk myself out of buying raw oysters, marrow bones, and all sorts of other fun goodies.  A girl can only spend so much on groceries in one day!  And as it was, I could barely carry all of my purchases home.

So I got home around 6pm and had to figure out what to do with all of my purchases.  One of my most exciting purchases was a pound of wild, never frozen, Georgia shrimp.  When you get shrimp that good you can cook it super simply and it still shines.  I figured who would know better how to cook nice Georgia shrimp than the Lee Brothers, who grew up in Charleston, SC and include a whole page of "Shrimp Shopping Notes" in their Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor cookbook.  The recipe that immediately caught my eye was "Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp" - which looked super simple and delicious.  And the recipe delivered - it only required 6 ingredients, including the shrimp, and was ready in less than 10 minutes.  Plus it was seriously tasty.

To go with our shrimp I wanted to come up with a vaguely Southern dish of sauteed or braised greens.  This week we got 1/2 a pound of Russian white kale, and 1/2 a lb. of Swiss chard from our CSA.  It wasn't quite enough of either green to build a meal entirely around it, but combined I had more than enough for a nice side dish.  To give the greens a flavor boost and make them feel more Southern, I added some bacon to my usual sauteed greens ingredients of crushed red pepper flakes, onions and garlic.  The bacon gave the greens an additional layer of flavor, as did the heat from the red pepper flakes.  It was the perfect side dish - one I definitely plan on serving again.
Recipes after the jump!

Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp
Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor
By the Lee Bros.

1/4 cup peanut oil
2 seasoning leaves, such as bay leaves or kaffir lime leaves, or 1/2 bulb lemongrass (I used kaffir lime leaves)
1 lb. headless large shell-on shrimp, deveined and cleaned
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
a couple splashes of beer (optional, but we used it and I would recommend it)

Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  When oil shimmers, add bay leaves or kaffir lime leaves and the shrimp.  Smooth the shrimp out in a single layer.  Season the shrimp with 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tbsp pepper.  Cook until the shrimp shells begin to toast, releasing an intensely shrimpy aroma and shrimp begins to curl up and become opaque, about 3 minutes.  Splash with beer (if using).  Flip shrimp over with tongs, and season with remaining s&p.

Transfer the the shrimp to a plate lined with paper towels.  Serve immediately.

Sauteed Greens with Bacon

1 lb. kale and Swiss chard, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves cut into 1-inch strips 
3 strips bacon, sliced into lardons
1 small sweet onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Blanch kale in a large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, then drain in a colander.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4-6 minutes.  Remove bacon lardons from the pan and allow to drain on paper towels. Add onions to rendered bacon fat. Sauté onion, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and onions are softened, about 3 additional minutes. Add Swiss chard. Toss to combine with onions and garlic.  Saute, stirring, until chard begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Season with s&p. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale heated through and chard is fully wilted. Season to taste with additional s&p.


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