A Great Recipe for Enjoying the Abundance of Summer Swiss Chard – Swiss Chard and Gulf Shrimp

IMG_7976In 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!

IMG_7916To begin, you’ll need:

1/2 cup chopped onion, shallot, or scallion
1/2 cup olive oil and/or butter
salt and black pepper to taste

IMG_7943Start with sautéing some shallots or onion (about 1/2 cup chopped) in Olive Oil or Butter (1/4 cup fat in all).

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.)

IMG_7945In 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.IMG_7951

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.

IMG_7948Once 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.

IMG_7946Coarsely chop the chard leaves. And add them to the pan just as the shrimp start to turn pink. Add some extra salt and pepper now too.

IMG_7954Once the green have cooked down and the shrimp are fully cooked. This takes minutes! Add the pasta to the pan and toss with the other ingredients.

IMG_7972Add 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.

IMG_7978Finally add the bacon, give it a final stir and enjoy!

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