Shrimp à la Creole

A classic dish of wild-caught Gulf shrimp with lots of fresh celery, onions, garlic and green peppers in a base of tomatoes, shrimp stock, fresh thyme, parsley and oregano, cayenne, black pepper and sea salt..

Shrimp à la Creole (adapted from a recipe at

2 pounds fresh shrimp (save shells to make shrimp stock)
2 tablespoons pastured butter
1 tablespoon bacon grease
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-1/2 cups very ripe fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups shrimp stock
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 fresh bay leaves
cayenne to taste
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup green onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 cup flat leaf parsley, minced

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the bacon grease over medium high heat.  When the butter begins to froth, add 1/2 cup of the onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown.  Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 tbsp creole seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt.  Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of sea salt (this will help the tomatoes break down).  Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine and bring to a low boil.  Add the shrimp stock, remaining creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), oregano and thyme.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Add the hot sauce and Worcestershire and season to taste with sea salt.

Reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp, simmering until just cooked through.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Our Gulf friends are still struggling to recover from last summer’s devastating oil spill.  Please support them at every opportunity!

Summer Squash Spaghetti with Lemon Aillade and Ricotta Salata

Seasonal zucchini and yellow squash is combined with lemon aillade, slivered spring onions, fresh basil and oregano. Topped with broiled garden tomatoes, baby carrots and raw olive oil-marinated ricotta salata.  Crunchy sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper..

Summer Squash Spaghetti with Lemon Aillade and Ricotta Salata

For the Aillade

3 cloves garlic
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
pinch cayenne
1 pastured egg yolk
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Peel and mince the garlic, then transfer to a mortar with the salt and crush into a paste.  Add the egg yolk, garlic and salt to a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Whisking continuously (use an electric mixer if you prefer), add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until it reaches a mayonnaise-like consistency.  Add the lemon juice the same way, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using.

To Prepare

Dress tomato wedges and baby carrots with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and broil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, toss fine julienne of zucchini and yellow squash (raw or blanched & shocked as you prefer), slivered onions and chopped fresh basil and oregano with lemon aillade.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Arrange “spaghetti” on a plate and top with broiled tomatoes, carrots and cheese.  Garnish with additional fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts if desired.

This post is part of Meatless Monday!

Ventresca with Green Garlic-Tomato Concassé and Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

In celebration of the fact that the temperature was in the 60’s today and we’re still getting fresh tomatoes here(!), I decided to toss up a summery plate of Ventresca (sustainably line-caught yellowfin tuna bellies) with green garlic-tomato concassé, lemon-caper mayonnaise, balsamic glaze and a relish of roasted peppers, black olives and fresh herbs..

Ventresca with Green Garlic-Tomato Concassé and Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

For the Concassé

1-2 bulbs green garlic, including tops, thinly sliced
1 large plum tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably from the Ventresca tin
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Very slowly soften green garlic in olive oil over low heat, then add tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and continue to warm until softened.  All to cool in mesh strainer, reserving the oil for the mayonnaise.

For the Mayonnaise

6-8 oz reserved olive oil
1 small pastured egg yolk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baby capers, mashed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
saffron threads, soaked

Soak the saffron threads in 1 teaspoon of cold, filtered water for 15 minutes, then whisk together with the lemon juice, egg yolk and salt.  Add the oil in a very thin stream, whisking continuously to form an emulsion.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the Relish

2 tablespoon roasted and pickled bell peppers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon ripe black olives, pitted and slivered
1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade-cut basil

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup aceto balsamico tradizionale

Using a double boiler to prevent scorching, reduce unadulterated balsamic vinegar until reduced in volume by about half.  The resulting syrup will thicken as it stands.

To assemble, spoon tomato concassé onto a serving plate, then top with a layer of Vetresca and dress with mayonnaise.  Add a second layer of concassé, tuna and mayonnaise and top with roasted pepper relish.  Dab the plate with balsamic glaze and finish the dish with coarse sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Conchiglie con Salsiccia di Pollo

Coarsely-ground pastured chicken, spinach, sweet onions, garlic and yellow tomatoes tossed with conchiglie pasta, cream, saffron, Grana Padano and fresh herbs..

Conchiglie con Salsiccia di Pollo

Serves 2

10-12 oz chicken meat (I use thigh meat), coarsely ground with 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
2 sweet bulb onions, sliced
2 fresh yellow cluster tomatoes, cored and choped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz spelt conchiglie
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in water
1/3 cup fresh cream
1/3 cup grated Grana Padano
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
fresh lemon

Grind chicken meat with fresh spinach and stir in 1 tablespoon cold rendered chicken fat.  Heat the other tablespoon of chicken fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Pinch off pieces of chicken sausage and sauté until lightly browned and crispy on the outside.  Add garlic, tomatoes, onions and herbs and sauté, stirring continuously until the tomatoes release their moisture, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta al denté in 1 1/2 quarts salted boiling water, about 8 minutes.  Drain, then return to burner over medium-low heat.  Stir in cream and saffron, then slowly stir in grated cheese until sauce is thick and creamy.

Toss sausage mixture with pasta and sauce, brighten with a squeeze of lemon and serve immediately.

Grilled Squash with Lemon Aioli

Grilled patty pan squash with lemon aïoli, sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, sweet peppers and fresh oregano..


Grilled Squash with Lemon Aïoli

For the aïoli

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 garlic cloves
pinch sea salt
a few drops of water

Mince the garlic and macerate in the lemon juice for several minutes, then combine with egg yolk, salt and water in a large bowl.  Whisk in olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

Lightly oil 1/4 inch slices of patty pan squash, trimmed greened onions and sweet peppers with virgin olive oil (not extra virgin) and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Grill vegetables until tender and browned along the edges.  Keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare saffron fettuccine according to package directions (or make your own). Use the hot pasta water to re-hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes. Toss the pasta in a spoonful of olive oil.

Arrange pasta in center of plate and surround with grilled vegetables.  Dress with aïoli, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh oregano.

Bookmark and Share