A stroll through a farmers market during the summer is as tempting to me as a walk through a candy store is to others.
Booth after booth is piled high with multicolored tomatoes, corn and bell peppers. This is the time of year when I like to take full advantage of what's out there, and this dish of Shrimp With Summer Vegetables from chef Kenneth Temple, a private chef in Dallas, let me do just that.
Summer corn scraped from the cob adds a delightful freshness here, but you can use frozen or canned as well. He tosses in multicolor cherry tomatoes and red or orange bell peppers, so the dish is full of bright colors. Minced jalapenos give the vegetables heat and lemon juice and zest add zing. Then, right at the end, he stirs in fresh spinach and parsley to wilt and fresh garlic for a little additional bite.
The vegetables — still slightly crisp — walk a line between sweet and spicy, making them ideal to serve with grilled seafood and meats. (I actually enjoy eating a big bowl of the vegetables, which are similar to a succotash, all on their own.)
Shrimp With Summer Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded, ribbed and minced (optional)
- 16 ounces fresh or frozen corn (if frozen, no need to defrost)
- 1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
- ¼ cup no-salt-added chicken broth or water
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more (optional) for serving
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use, plus more as needed
- 24 large (21-25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons Cajun/Creole seasoning, preferably low or no-salt
Make the vegetables: In a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until blistered, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the corn on top and let it sit undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent, and the bell pepper softens, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the lemon zest and juice, chicken broth or water and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in the spinach, parsley and garlic until the spinach is wilted. Cover to keep warm.
Make the shrimp: Turn on the vent over your stove, if you have one. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss the shrimp in the butter to lightly coat. Place the shrimp on a platter and season liberally and evenly on both sides with the Creole/Cajun seasoning; it's OK if some of it falls off.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until bubbling. Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook undisturbed until they turn deep brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until deep brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more.
Watch carefully, the butter will turn brown but should not smell burned. If you're cooking in batches and the butter does start to burn, carefully wipe the skillet clean and start over with fresh butter for the next batch. To check if the shrimp are done, cut one in half — it should be opaque throughout.
Divide the vegetables among plates, top with the shrimp and sprinkle with parsley, if using.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (4 shrimp, plus 1 cup vegetables) contains approximately 282 calories, 18 g protein, 14 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate (10 g sugar), 114 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium and 5 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2
Adapted from private chef Kenneth Temple of Dallas