On this episode of “Can Jen Piccata It?” we have not just shrimp, not just a burger, but a shrimp burger!
I love this dish for two big reasons. One it makes a piccata feel so practical. I can have my piccata poolside and it fits. But also? Now my summer burger feels so glamorous from swapping out meat and ketchup for a seafood piccata flavored with lemon and capers. The shrimp and the burger really work together to lift each other up.
1 lb shrimp, semi-finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 large egg
1/4-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp neutral oil
Salt and pepper
Start by mixing the mayonnaise, 1 tbsp of the capers, and start with the juice of half a lemon. Add more lemon if needed and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or refrigerate until using.
Combine the shrimp, lemon zest, the rest of the capers, egg, flour, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Add more flour if the mix isn’t holding. Form into four patties.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Cook your shrimp patties about 3-5 minutes per side until the outsides are golden brown and the insides are fully cooked. Serve on a toasty bun with lettuce, spinach, or arugula and load up the mayo!
For my birthday this past weekend I took a trip to Hendersonville, NC to do nothing but cook, write, and just relax. One of my favorite recipes I worked on developing while up there was this simple but perfect little egg number.
Eggs en cocotte is an old French breakfast dish of eggs baked in cocottes or more commonly, ramekins. One of the most fun parts is that you can have all manner of goodies tucked underneath the eggs such as caramelized onions, mushroom duxelle, meat, or cheese. I like to keep it simple with just some proscuitto. But the sky truly is the limit here.
I rarely cook beef. I’m not fully sure why, it’s perfectly delicious, I just don’t mess with it. But recently I got a craving for two different beef dishes at the same time, meatloaf and beef stroganoff. There was no chance in heck I was going to put both on my grocery list and blow my mostly pescatarian lifestyle sky high. Enter: the mashup.
I mean honestly this makes all the sense in the world. This take on classic America combined with classic Russia soothes cold war tensions like Richard Nixon never could. Instead of the cafeteria style cream of mushroom based stroganoff over noodles, which I love; don’t get me wrong, I went for a more authentic flavor on the sauce. And honestly what’s better than a hunk of meat slathered in a rich, tangy mushroom sauce? Exactly, not a damn thing.
I have a friend who’s been tending to a pretty massive farm. She recently posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to buy some beautiful mushrooms that popped up from a super bloom she had. Words can’t describe how quickly I hopped on getting a pound of fresh mixed ones and a few ounces of dried hen of the woods. Half of the fresh went to a steak dinner. For the other half there was only one way to go: risotto.
I posted before about the concept of a double mushroom dish in my double mushroom pasta. The concept is to have the mushrooms not just on top or stirred in, but also within the liquid the starch is cooked in to create a reinforced mushroom flavor. This time instead of mushroom pasta water I’m using a mushroom stock for the risotto stirring.
Risotto is a top tier comfort food for me anyway, but with all this shroomy goodness I’m feeling good!
Like almost any southerner I’m a sucker for a good mac and cheese. What’s more comforting than carbs and cheese? Simple: carbs, cheese, and a crap ton of seafood. I based this recipe off of a traditional macaroni pie recipe, but with some switched up cheeses as well as the addition of shrimp, scallops and (admittedly imitation) crab.
During most of my day to day life I like super simple, clean cooking. But I have a special tradition I like to call “fuck it Friday.” It’s a similar concept to a cheat day, but without the gross guilty connotation, and it allows me to set it on a schedule.
One of my big go tos for this moment is some kind of alfredo pasta. But what happens when I feel the need to be sneaky during the week, or on the other hand slide a vegetable into my Fridays? The answer is simple, why not both? Enter alfredo mashed cauliflower.
It’s super rich and decadent. But making cauliflower the base at least lets me pretend I’m being somewhat healthful. I’m a huge believer in the magic of cauliflower, and if you weren’t before then there’s nothing a little parmesan won’t solve.
Coming into this recipe I had never worked with lamb before. And even when I’ve eaten it it was almost always in the form of a gyro, or a burger that tasted like one.
Yet despite it being this big mystery I really wanted to dive in headfirst. Coming in here’s what I knew: lamb needs to stay pink, and that it can stand up to some heavy flavors and condiments. I brought back an old favorite with my roasted garlic mayo from my mushroom swiss burgers. But I also used this as a chance to dabble in something I’ve wanted to for a long time, jam making.
I’ve made some berry jams for breakfast items before and even tried my hand at the dark art of chia jam. But what about savory jams? I’ve heard of tomato jam but wanted to bring new life to the concept with a good vinegar hit and fresh herbs. Plus the leftovers are really good on toast with some soft cheese!
All together this burger is a flavor bomb, but the lamb still doesn’t get lost. It’s that magical moment where every component brings its own special flavor that hits all parts of the tongue. Truth be told I made them for my best friend to help me try and we both ate two in one sitting!
Honestly there’s not much of a cool story to this. I just randomly got an urge to make a recipe with grapes because I think they’re sorely underused, and somehow thought peanut butter jelly and salad should have a baby.
Honestly how I got there’s a mystery but I’m glad I did. What I did was whip up a peanut dressing with a good hit of acid and a little spice and paired it with grilled chicken and the sweetest grapes I could find.
I ended up with a really cool childhood meets adulthood plate of food that I’m really into. And this is coming from a salad hater. So let’s get into it, yeah?
Ok so in the past I’ve gotten bad about feeling the need to do some intense diet and exercising for the new year. I usually lose weight for a while, but end up feeling restricted, overworked, and not very happy by Summer. Instead for 2020 I’m going with a goal of “happy food.” I aim to cook what’s making me happy in that moment no matter how weird or out of my normal culinary zone it may be. I’m on a new path of chasing after happy dances.
That being said, like many of you this holiday season got me jacked up. Spiked hot cocoa, tons of red meat, and all the latkes I can eat are really cool, but I needed a major reset button to start 2020 feeling fresh and clean.
One of my favorite things to have in the morning is a huge mug of matcha to get me perked up and ready to go, which was the jump off point of this dish. The surrealistic pondscape consists of some of my favorite clean flavors: salmon, cucumber, nori, roe, and dashi. The effect is a really cool combination of oceany flavors from the fish and dashi with the earthiness of matcha to create something that feels very nature inspired.
Even though we’re in the middle of winter the lightness and freshness of this dish can’t help but make me feel like spring is around the corner. Another cool perk is it can be served at any temperature and still work.
Picture it: Belton 2001. One day when the Marshall Primary School menu for the next week was released everyone’s attention was immediately captured by something we never heard of, bird dogs. None of the other kids knew what it was, and to add insult to injury none of the adults did either. Not even the lunch ladies!
What we got was a total game changer. Bird dogs consist of chicken fingers, bacon, honey mustard, and cheddar tucked into a hot dog bun. When I explain it to people who never lived in Anderson county, South Carolina they never seemed to get it, but honestly it’s so perfect. Somehow the hotdog bun proportions are so much more satisfying than the normal chicken sandwich and I will die on that hill.
Clearly I’m not the only one to think so because these little buns of glory became a cultural icon in my hometown. They worked their way into mom and pop restaurants, sleepovers, and I even went to a banquet where they were served!
If you ever wanted a super obscure southern dish that you can’t even find on Google that doubles as stoner food then look no further! I mean come on, look at that!