Jul 27 2011
I never intended to blog about this dinner.
It started innocently enough, with a few items I picked up at the farmer’s market over the weekend but shunned Saturday night in favor of going out to a fancy dinner. No shame.
By the time I did get around to these ingredients, I had to figure out what to do with them. So I pulled a genius move and cooked them all together on the stove. Good thing I went to culinary school!
Seriously, this dinner — a mishmash of corn, squash, shrimp and spicy sausage, paired with a watermelon, feta and heirloom tomato salad — turned out to be delicious. And it wasn’t due to low expectations; you know you’re going to end up with a fantastic meal when it starts with farm-fresh summer ingredients. A few takeaways:
- Use more paprika. The flavor is actually pretty mild, but it gives all my seafood and veggies a Cajun kick that I adore.
- Buy a watermelon. As my sister said recently, “Who knew there was so much watermelon in a watermelon?” It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and will continue all week.
- Start with pork. Oops, that was the Mississippian in me, not the Californian. But it makes everything taste amazing, and in small quantities like these, you needn’t worry about a heart attack.
Corn & Squash Mishmash with Shrimp
Ingredients (Serves 2 if very hungry after a long run, 3 if normal):
1 spicy sausage (Italian or Andouille)
3 ears corn, stripped from cob
1 large summer squash (zucchini, crookneck, or Gold Rush, as I used), cut into bite-size cubes or half-moons
2 tbsp. sweet paprika, divided
Salt and pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup purslane leaves (or any microgreen, such as watercress)
1 tsp. olive oil, plus more if needed
Squeeze sausage out of casing into a large saute pan or Dutch oven. Cook until it begins to turn brown (about 5 minutes), then add corn, squash, 1 tablespoon paprika and salt and pepper to taste. If pan looks dry, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
Pat shrimp dry and rub with paprika to cover all sides, then season with salt and pepper. Once squash is tender, after 5 or 10 minutes, add shrimp and saute until pink, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Toss purslane leaves in olive oil. Serve shrimp and corn mixture immediately and top with purslane leaves.
Watermelon, Heirloom Tomato and Feta Salad with Basil
Ingredients (Serves 6):
1 small seedless watermelon
2 heirloom tomatoes (I used yellow), cut in a large 1/2-inch dice
5 oz. feta cheese
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine watermelon cubes and tomato in a large bowl and crumble feta on top. Add basil strips and drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to combine.