I got back late last night from my annual trek down to Baltimore for Beth and Don’s (in)famous Memorial Day BBQ. It was, as always, great fun. And I served up some damn fine brisket, if I do say so myself.
But three days of hauling coolers, rubbing meat, and tending the coals will wear a girl–and her manicure–out.
I helped cook and serve everything from sweetbreads and pork belly to elk and musk ox. (I managed to stagger my grill shifts so as to steer clear of the whole raccoon.) Needless to say, meat is not so appealing to me at the moment. Luckily, a swing through my local sustainable seafood shop and the dregs in my refrigerator combined forces for a quick and lovely pescatarian meal.
Shrimp Tacos with Kale & Avocado Slaw
- 1/2 bunch Lacinato kale, shredded
- 4 scallions, minced
- 1 lime, juiced (plus another for your margarita)
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 3 corn tortillas
- salt and pepper
Toss the kale and scallions with the lime juice and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. After a few minutes, mix in the avocado and 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Stir occasionally so that everything comes together while you continue on with you dinner preparations. Bring a small skillet up to medium-high heat and a cast iron skillet up to medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and the butter to the small skillet. Toss the shrimp with salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl. Make a margarita. Add the onion to the small skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until nicely browned. Scoot the onions to the side and add the shrimp. Cook for a couple of minutes, and then flip. Add the salsa and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced. Heat the tortillas in the cast iron skillet, about a minute per side. Assemble your tortillas, topping them with the shrimp, onions and a nice pile of slaw.
Grill a bunch of asparagus, a handful of chives, and the heel of some stale whole wheat sourdough in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add salt, pepper, a nice dollop of ricotta, and the juice and zest of half a lemon. This would be great with a glass of Sancerre. It would be even better with a whole bottle. Alas, I paired mine with the budget justification for one of two federal grants due in less than 24 hours
Having spent much of my week in meetings, I find myself home alone on Friday night desperately attempting to catch up on emails and a couple of writing projects. This is not as bad as it sounds when you consider the fact that I went a little overboard on the ramps during Monday’s farmers’ market expedition and had the foresight to pick up a ball of pizza dough on my way home this afternoon.
It seems that Friday night pizza is officially a thing.
Ramp, Feta & Mint Pizza
- 10-12 ramps, dirty ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small ball pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 20 or so fresh mint leaves
- salt and pepper
- Turn your oven up as high as it will go and remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator.
- Bring a large cast iron skillet up to medium heat with the butter. Add the ramps, placing the bulb ends in the skillet and draping the greens, which will cook faster, off the side. When the bulbs are starting to brown, flip the ramps over, When the other side has some color, slide the greens portions in as well. Flip one more time to cook the greens thoroughly, sprinkle with a little salt and set aside.
- Give the skillet a quick rinse and pop it in the oven. When the oven is pre-heated, remove the skillet and swirl a little olive oil inside.
- Slowly stretch your dough into a circle approximately the size of your skillet by working your hands around the edges, pulling gently and allowing gravity to assist. Place the dough in the skillet, drizzle a little more olive oil on top and then spread the ricotta cheese in a layer. Add some black pepper, the ramps and the feta cheese.
- Pop the pan in the oven and let cook for 7 to 11 minutes until the edges of the crust are browned. Sprinkle the hot pizza with the mint leaves before serving.
This should probably be enough for two people, but I’m having a hard time resisting the half that’s sitting on my cutting board.