In this recipe the ‘bite’ or leafy sharp-quality of the chard truly complements the seafood flavor of the briny Gulf Shrimp. If I ever opened a crab-shack cafe at the shore, this is definitely one of the dishes I’ll put on my menu!
1/2 cup chopped onion, shallot, or scallion
1/2 cup olive oil and/or butter
salt and black pepper to taste
1 chopped fresh sweet pepper
1 bunch of fresh Chard (could be any color or combination of colors)
Add some chopped bell pepper or ancho pepper to taste – I used one smallish poblano from the garden. Also add the stems of the Chard (save the greens), chopped like celery. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
about 4-5 slices of bacon (This is optional, but really adds a smokiness and earthiness to this dish.)
In the meantime, slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Then saute the bacon in a separate pan. Let it get crispy. Pour into a strainer over a pyrex. Spread bacon pieces out on a paper towel. Reserve the fat in the pyrex.
And start a pot of water to boil for some pastas. I used the Radiatore Organic Pasta from Shoprite. It is really lovely. It has gluten, but the wheat is organically raised.
You can use any shape of pasta – just cook it according to the directions. Because this recipe will have a looser styled sauce, I like to use a pasta with some extra nooks and crannies to hold it. When the pastas are ready, slightly al dente, drain them and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Once the onions, pepper, chard stems are soft, add the shrimp. I used about 1 pound of medium sized Gulf shrimp. It is important to use wild caught shrimp for this recipe. Wild shrimp have a deeper seafood flavor than the dirty farm raised shrimp.
Add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water, about 3 tbsp of the reserved bacon fat, and a dollop of heavy cream (optional but really is wonderful). You want a sauce that moves fluidly yet is tasty. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.