5.21.2012

A warm hello

Hello from here, where the big news is lettuce. Big, beautiful lettuces in all shapes and sizes: we've got Blushed Butter Oaks and Italienischer and Red Sails and who knows what else from last year's seeds that volunteered.


I can't say we have been doing anything groundbreaking or revolutionary with them—we have been eating them tossed with olive oil and sea salt and cider vinegar—the normal way. But we have been eating them alongside some pretty great things, including a squash and seafood bisque I'd like to share. I wish I could spoon you out a bowl from the big orange pot sitting in the fridge. In lieu of that, here's the recipe, and a warm hello from Sally, from here.


BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SHRIMP BISQUE

This is another recipe inspired by items from the freezer. I found Maine shrimp in there, pureed squash from our garden, and a whole lot of seafood stock, and I searched around online until I found a reasonable approximation of a squash and seafood bisque. I changed it up quite a bit and ended up with this: a thick, satisfying pot of slightly sweet, slightly savory shrimp bisque.

1 leek, thinly sliced (use just the white and light green tender parts)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups seafood stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel fronds
1 cup Maine shrimp
heavy cream to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste

Get out a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot and warm it up over medium-high heat. Add the leek and the butter and sauté, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes, or until the leek softens up. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the squash, stock, saffron, garam masala, and fennel, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree (or transfer to a food processor/blender). Add the shrimp* and the heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the flavors come together and the shrimp is cooked through. Serve hot—we had ours with salad and cornbread.

*Note: Alternatively, you could pan sear the shrimp and serve them on top. I was feeling lazy, but I think going this route would be delicious.

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