Jersey Asparagus Garlic Shrimp

My love of Jersey vegetables began as a child, picking them fresh while holding my grandfather’s hand.  His garden was impeccable, not a weed and the rows were perfectly straight. He grew a great deal of vegetables but asparagus was not one of them. So a trip to the local farmer’s market was inevitable when asparagus was in season. During my childhood in South Jersey there were numerous Farmer’s Markets that dotted the country roads offering their farm specialties along with the common fair. Today we are very lucky to have the Collingswood Farmer’s Market with the highest quality vendors offering the freshest produce available. One of my favorite farms at the market is Viereck, and I have purchased some of the finest produce  from them for years. So it was a no brainer that I would take my Jersey grass, some fresh shrimp and turn them into a favorite recipe.

1/2 lb extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined: save the shells

Place the shells in a small sauce pan with:

1/4 of an onion

1/2 a carrot

1/2 stalk of celery

1 clove garlic smashed

1 bay leaf

1/4 of a lemon

a pinch of salt and pepper

Cover all ingredients with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and cool. You now have a delicious shrimp stock for cooking. Strain out vegetables and set aside.  You can freeze the stock you don’t use in an ice-cube tray, place the cubes in a bag in the freezer for future use.

Take 2 tablespoons of EVOO and 4 large clove of garlic minced and place them in a small bowl to get happy.

Clean 1/4 of a pound of fresh Jersey asparagus and slice on an angle into 1 inch pieces.

Take the clean shrimp and cut each into half.

Heat up a medium size saute pan. Add the garlic and oil along with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook about 3 minutes, do not let the garlic burn. Add the sliced asparagus and cook about 5 minutes. Next add 1/2 cup of the shrimp stock, 1/4 cup white wine and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Reduce heat and add the shrimp. simmer for about 4 minutes or until the shrimp just turn pink.

Remove from heat and place in a shallow bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest. This recipe would be fabulous over pasta or rice!

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