Generally, I avoid those internet entangling alliances called "meme's" like the plague, but last week, Chef Troll tossed out a challenge that peaked my interest.
I took the bait, like a spring time Cobia circling a channel marker ...
Above, just a few of the ingredients for my Chef Troll Culinary Throwdown Challenge.
... To put your own spin on a traditional southern dish and post it by today, May 13.
I decided to stick with fresh, simple Florida ingredients, with an eye to keeping it light and healthy.
To that end, my simple entry consists of ...
... fresh green beans from south Florida.
These I stir fried in a little sesame oil on high heat to sear them here and there ... but not too much ... they should still be firm when they come out of the wok.
Traditionally, we southerners would cook these to mush in a pot with a big ol' hunk of bacon or ham hock. While that is delicious, it adds a lot of fat and cholesterol while leaching out a bunch of the nutrients.
Fresh beans really don't need that treatment. The only seasonings these received was a shake of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
They were amazing and vanished as fast as I could cook them.
My main dish is a St. Augustine Minorcan twist on a Gulf of Florida favorite, Shrimp Creole. Traditionally, this dish is often made with canned tomatoes. In addition, it usually has cayenne in it, which adds nice heat, but no real flavor.
For Shrimp Minorcreole, (which I invented in my kitchen about 6 hours ago now), I decided to go completely fresh, skip the cayenne, and toss in some of my homemade datil relish for both flavor and heat ala Minorcan.
In my mini food whacker thingie, I chopped 4 fresh plum tomatoes for my sauce base. I also chopped the good core of two green onions, tossing the grassy outer stems away. One big clove of garlic was minced and a mix of thyme,chili powder, salt, and oregano was assembled before cooking.
It's worth mentioning that this is a recipe for one healthy serving and you would need to expand things a bit for company.
In my case, I was simultaneously cooking a Mexican dinner of tacos and burritos for the kids and myself, while inventing and cooking my Throwdown dish.
Multitasking r me.
The Shrimp Minorcreole dish was for Mrs. FC who was my official taste tester.
In a cast irons skillet already sizzling with EVO, I tossed in the chopped green onions, the garlic, and the freshly chopped tomatoes. About 5 whole grape tomatoes were tossed in for sweetness and visual appeal. After that mix had simmered a few minutes, I stirred in my mix of spices, and a splash of cheap wine.
A little bit of sugar went in to the sauce to balance things out. I like this sugar.
Then I tossed in three of these big spoonfuls of home made datil pepper relish.
You can find the recipe for this datil pepper relish in previous posts at Pure Florida. Just use the search this blog feature at the top of the page.
(Now, while all this was going on, I was also boiling some cubed new potatoes from Hastings, Florida, the potato capital of the universe. More about them later)
After the sauce had simmered and had time to blend, I added the shrimp.
10 large shrimp were added and allowed to just barely cook through. Shrimp should never spend much time on the heat unless you like 'em rubbery.
They go in, get tossed around a few times and get their little decapoda butts off the heat as soon as that color change occurs.
Now ... about those potatoes ...
Long before the shrimp entered the sauce, the new potatoes had been boiling away. By the time the shrimp went into the sauce, the potatoes were cooked, strained, and basking in a little butter, salt, and pepper... 'cause that's all new potatoes need.
They are too tasty to gussy up with any silliness.
In the end, it all came together like this:
Stir Fried Green Beans
Hastings New Potatoes
I was allowed to taste part of one shrimp and then warned away from the plate.
So there you have it ... all from Florida, all fresh, all healthy, all tres, tres, flavorful.
Look upon my works y'all mighty and despair!