Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Soul Food... SMJ style

As I mentioned last month, this summer I'm going to be helping my friend Laura, from Black Kettle Farm here in Maine, create recipes for her CSA members.  We're hoping to give them, and you, innovative ideas about what to do with your seasonal produce.  This week, Laura's CSA members will get garlic scapes and collard greens in their baskets, and these happen to be two favorite ingredients of mine.  Even though we're yankees (and Red Sox fans!) through and through, the hub and I love ourselves a little Southern cookin', and garlic scapes and collards lend themselves to one spectacular Southern-inspired meal.
Creole Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic Scapes, Melted Collard Greens, and Baked Beans
So, let's break this meal down, shall we?  First off, the baked beans.  You can make 'em from scratch if you please, and fab recipes for doing so abound across the interwebs (see inspiration here and here).  If you don't have the time or the will to make scratch beans, we adore Heinz Vegetarian Baked Beans, and the ones above were purchased at our local butcher, who sells yummy side dishes like this along with great, organic meat. 
Also, you may be asking yourself, "SMJ, what is a garlic scape, anyway?". 
Garlic scapes are the curly tipped, delicious green shoots that grow from heads of garlic, which are usually discarded before harvesting in most of the U.S.  If they are harvested while they are still tender, they can be used in a variety of recipes, and have a delicate, unusual flavor that is a cross between a green onion and garlic.  These are so worth a try and so pretty to have around the kitchen.  They are also the foundation of my Creole Shrimp recipe.
Creole Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic Scapes
Serves 4
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. each fresh ground pepper, paprika, onion powder, oregano and thyme
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
2 pounds medium shrimp
5 long garlic scapes, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon butter
Olive oil
1 lemon
1) Peel, de-vein, and rinse shrimp. Dry off excess water.
2) Put the flour in a medium bowl and mix in all the spices.  Add the dry shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat with the spice-and-flour mixture.  Set aside.
3) Put the butter in a large pan. Coat pan with olive oil . Heat the pan over medium heat. Add the scapes and sauté until they begin to wilt, about 5 minutes.
5) Turn the heat to high and add the shrimp, using a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to the pan and shaking off extra flour en route. Sauté until just done, probably about 5 to 7 minutes.
6) Transfer shrimp to plates, and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.
And for a nice veg...
Melted Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
paprika, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1) Chop the collards into ribbons.
2) In a deep skillet with a lid, bring the water to boil.  Add the greens, cover, and allow to steam for about 5 minutes, until well wilted.  Drain in a colander, pressing out extra moisture.
3) In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the collards and honey and sauté until collards are soft, but still retain some bite, about 5 more minutes.  Season to taste.

This may not be a classic Southern meal... for one thing, it contains no pork fat, and for another, I am not sure garlic scapes are technically a soul food staple, however, this is a healthy and unique spin on the flavors of the region we adore, and a great way to use some of your fresh produce this week.  Enjoy!


  1. I am so excited you are doing this! I got garlic scapes last week and had never had them, they were great but I've been at a loss on how to use all these unique vegetables. I find myself making a lot of omelets and need some new ideas! Picking up my basket this afternoon and hoping I have collard greens to try this...

  2. Yum! This looks so amazing. I CANNOT wait to put this in the newsletter because it is such a complete meal, not just a veggie side. You rule lady! thanks again.

  3. This looks fantastic! I love Black Kettle Farm, I went to college with Laura & linked into your blog from one of my other favorites. What a small, wonderful world! Inspired to go to my farmer's market this afternoon. :-)