Hey, it's beginning to happen here in the South, just like in metro areas such as New York City - fish and other seafood that were swimming in the ocean yesterday can land on our plates today, even on our tables at home.
It's the latest trend to hit the Fresh and Local scene. Shrimp, clams, crab and fish get loaded onto refrigerated trucks as soon as the boats hit the dock, and take a cold ride to inland farmers markets for lucky consumers like myself in Raleigh. Many CFAs, that's community supported fisheries similar to the CSAs that provide produce fresh from the farm, also give lucky subscribers boxes laden with the fresh catch of the week.
I've talked before about several of these fishermen-based co-ops, like Core Sound Seafood, www.coresoundseafood.org, based out of the Morehead City area, and also Walking Fish, www.walking-fish.org, a CFA that provides central NC customers with fresh seafood.
This Wednesday, I discovered LOCALS SEAFOOD, www.localsseafood.com at Raleigh's Downtown Farmers Market. They offered ice chests laden with tuna, mackerel and other fish. Shrimp was from Dare County, in the northern Outer Banks. The shrimp were huge and as fresh as could be, so two pounds went home with us.
Recipes started stirring in my head, esp. after I remembered some locally made dried tomato and basil pasta I had brought home from the farmers market at the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. In fact, the fresh basil growing on the deck and tomatoes, fresh from our little garden, would be perfect paired with that pasta. And a nice wedge of crusty sourdough bread from La Farm Bakery's stand across the way would be perfect, too. A baby watermelon cut into chunks, sprinkled with almonds and basil, and feta? A perfect salad.
Yum, dinner was on the way!
THE PASTA WENCH
Fresh pasta is just, well, awesome. And business is awesome for THE PASTA WENCH, a home-grown business out of Boone. Andrea's Organics is their farm that provides seasonal and sustainable veggies and herbs for the fresh pasta made in small, artisanal batches. In fact, the company boasts that 85% of ingredients used for ravioli, fettucini and other pastas are from North Carolina organic growers.
Just recently, the pasta production was moved from the dining room to a large business facility, after contracts were made with Whole Foods and a few other stores. You can still find THE PASTA WENCH products at many farmers markets from the mountains to the sea, from Boone to the Wilmington area. Check them out at www.pastawench.com.
RECIPE *** SHRIMP with Tomatoes, Fresh Corn and Basil ***
I love mixing it up with fresh shrimp, adding whatever may be in season or in my pantry, like the few ears of fresh corn in the fridge. So I cut the corn from a few cobs to add even more taste to this awesome pasta dish.
And here's a handy hint I just read about myself: Get out a bundt cake pan or what I call a pound cake pan, the one with a hole in the middle. Place the cob on top of the "hole", and when you cut the kernels away from the cob, they'll fall into the cake pan rather than go all over your counter. Works like a charm!
As usual, it's best to have all your ingredients prepped and chopped and ready to go, because this recipe comes together fast. So go ahead and start to heat up the water for the pasta, and chop away!
SHRIMP with Tomatoes, Fresh Corn and Basil
9 to 12 ounces fettuccine, dried or fresh
1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, washed and patted dry
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup of fresh corn kernels
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or a handful of sun-dried tomatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While preparing shrimp, add pasta to boiling water and cook for the recommended amount of time. Pull out one strand and taste to see if done. Drain and set aside.
2. Add olive oil to a large saute pan, and add onions. Cook over low heat until onions are tender. Add garlic, and stir for about a minute.
3. Increase heat to medium, and add shrimp and butter, and corn if using, and stir frequently, until shrimp are pink and firm. Season with the Old Bay and salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, if using, and stir to heat through.
4. Sprinkle the basil or parsley over the pasta just before serving. Spread a mound of pasta on each plate, then spoon the shrimp mix over.
4 to 6 servings
As usual, be nice and give credit for this recipe to Elizabeth Wiegand, CarolinaFoodie, 2011.