This continues to blow my mind: since I moved into the city I have been shopping at farmers’ markets more than I was ever able to before. You wouldn’t think this would be possible due to the fact that, well, last time I checked, skyscrapers don’t exactly grow things? And I couldn’t really imagine most professionals getting down and dirty with some produce. Believe me, though, if anyone else in New York is like me, we sure do appreciate these markets. The produce is incredibly fresh, the prices are relatively low, and everything always tastes good.
The story of this recipe starts with a big, beautiful, leafy bunch of rainbow chard that caught my eye as I was leaving the subway. That’s not really something you could do outside the city, huh? It starts there… and almost ends with the increasingly standard delicious but too-boring-for-the-blog weeknight dinner meal.
In case you guys haven’t noticed, cooking during the week can be hard. Planning ahead, preparing things, and most importantly, actually putting a meal together is such a brain-drain after another hard day of work. Luckily, though, sometimes things just come together. This is one of those lucky meals: easy, quick, and just as delicious as anything you could treat yourself to on the weekend!
The secret to this recipe is that it is three very simple elements coming together to make an exquisite whole. I was initially a tad worried about “searing” shrimp, because searing normally means you cook only the outside of your meat. Shrimp cooks so quickly, however, that throwing them in a pan over high heat for a short time still cooks them through. The high heat also boils some of the water off the shrimp liquid, which leaves you with a concentrated, flavorful, wonderful addition to your leafy greens. And the cornbread. Gosh, the cornbread.
Sometime within the past week I have developed a serious hankering for cornbread. As a thoroughly northern girl, however, it always seemed like good cornbread was not something that I would ever be qualified to make. That is, until I found this recipe over at Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate. Five minutes of prep time? Twenty-five minutes of baking? I was intrigued.
The blog author, Christy, has called this recipe “Dixie Cornbread (Go Dawgs!)”as a tribute to the Dogs fan who so graciously shared her recipe. It’s a recipe that got this woman’s husband asking for seconds and thirds, and apparently it is extremely rude for someone to say that anyone’s cornbread is better than their momma’s. Again, as a northeastern lady, I feel like I don’t really know what good cornbread is supposed to taste like. I can say, though, that even to my unrefined northern palate, this cornbread was delicious enough to make me wish I’d made much, much more of it. Good thing it only took about twenty minutes from start to finish.
This meal is so good that I may make it again in the coming week. If you love it or have suggestions about alterations, please add your thoughts in the comments below!
Seared Shrimp with Swiss Chard
4 servings of shrimp*
1 large bunch of swiss chard,
2 Italian hot peppers, diced
1 white onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
Start the cornbread by heating your oven and skillet before working with the shrimp and the swiss chard. Prep the cornbread recipe, which you can find here. I used butter instead of the recommended bacon fat option.
While your oven is heating, saute your onions with olive oil and a bit of garlic in a medium large pot. When they are soft, add the hot peppers and cook until fragrant. Then, add your swiss chard in batches. Continue to cook until the chard has wilted, stirring frequently. Drain the excess water from the chard and onion mixture.
When the oven has heated, cook the cornbread.
While the cornbread is cooking, heat a skillet over high heat with olive oil. Add enough shrimp to the hot oil but do not overcrowd the pan– work in batches if necessary. Salt and pepper the raw side of the shrimp and flip them when the pink starts to show through. Do not worry about the liquid leaving the shrimp– leave it until you are done cooking. Cook the second batch in the same way.
After all the shrimp has been cooked, turn the pan to low heat and add lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Pour the lemon mixture over the swiss chard. Serve the chard and shrimp over a chunk of cornbread and enjoy!
*Frozen shrimp is definitely okay to use here, but make sure to defrost it first. I also prefer to leave the tails on– they make the shrimp much more flavorful while cooking, and are still easy enough to take off while eating.