Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shrimp Scampi and a lot of hearty Greek-style goodness

After voting in the SC primary on Tuesday, the pressure was on to find a use for two turnips, one bunch of kale and about a pound of string beans. I've also had a bag of new potatoes sitting around (courtesy of an Amsa Yoga regular who gave them away on Memorial Day) that I at least needed to think about using up. Since Steve likes food with a face in at least one meal a day, I had to think of a way to work that in and avoid overwhelming him with veggie side dishes. So, instead of making separate dishes out of turnips, potatoes, string beans and kale, I found combinations that brought the side dish count down to two. The result appears above, and here's how I got there (in roughly this order):

Peloponnesos-style potatoes and green beans*:
3 tbsp Smart Balance
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb string beans, strung and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the Smart Balance (butter or any butter substitute will do, and substituting olive oil for 1 of the 3 tbsp is even better) in a wide, shallow saucepan over medium heat. Once it has melted, stir in the tomato sauce. Add potatoes, string beans and just enough water to cover. Stir, cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (30-45 minutes depending on heat). Remove lid, stir in salt, pepper, parsley and mint and cook uncovered until sauce has thickened.

Sauteed turnips and kale:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 turnips, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium bunch kale, coarsely chopped, stems removed
salt and crushed red pepper to taste
Rinse the kale well to remove any dirt. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add turnips and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale, salt and crushed red pepper, cover and cook until kale has wilted, about 5 more minutes.

Shrimp scampi**:
10-12 oz. shrimp (peeled and deveined), thawed
olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and cook uncovered until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

A couple of things:
I rarely find butter preferable to a vegetable-based alternative except when making cookies, and I recently switched from Brummel and Brown to Smart Balance for the omega-3's and to avoid hydrogenated oils (where the trans fats are, making many butter substitutes even worse for you than butter).

The shrimp I used in the scampi was fully cooked when I took it out of the freezer, which made the end result a tad rubbery. (The original recipe called for uncooked shrimp.) It also called for white wine, which I skipped when I saw how much liquid cooked out of the shrimp; no point in overcooking it more than I needed to. If I ever make this again - and there's a good chance that I will, since it was very tasty despite the texture - I'll either use raw shrimp or set the cooked stuff aside, make the sauce first and slip in the shrimp at the very end, just long enough to warm it up.

Pat on the back: Steve said this meal was the best thing he'd eaten all day!

The next Pinckney's stash arrives Thursday. Stay tuned to find out what I pull out of my chef's hat next!

*Vilma Liacouras Chantiles. The Food of Greece.
**Original recipe available here.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos on a high difficulty level. I love that you think of using your bounty up every week as a challenge and that is the way I shall look at it as well. This will get me out of the old standby ruts and try new and interesting things.

    You got any idea what to do with two radishes with tops?