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!
Remember in Green Eggs and Ham when Not Sam I Am refused the titular dish on a train and on a plane? Or how we will not have them here, there, or anywhere? Yeah that’s the exact opposite of what’s happening here.
The earthiness from the mushrooms sautéed with fresh thyme, the sweet nuttiness of swiss cheese, and tangy creaminess of crème fraîche instead of pizza sauce as a base is for lack of a better word, immaculate. In addition to the beautiful flavor balance using a single ingredient as the base instead of making a sauce is such a time saver!
As much as I love making pasta, my huge Achilles heel had always been the stuffed variety. I’ve had way more raviolis explode on me than I feel comfortable admitting. But I knew within this mushroom series I’ve been working on I had to do some form of pasta, and since I’d already made a fettuccine/tagliatelle type of deal it was time to put the big girl panties on.
I spent hours watching online tutorials of how to properly fold tortellinis in preparation of this. But what’s cool is that tortellinis are actually shockingly easy to achieve! Between how simple they were and how delicious they were I legit almost cried tasting these. Don’t even get me started on the mushroom, thyme, balsamic, and red wine filling with just a bit of ricotta to give that creamy texture we know and love in our filled noodles. The recipe below feeds 2 for a main. 10/10 would tortellini again.
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!
Every so often I write a recipe that completely changes the game for me. A recipe that makes me proclaim to the void and all the gods, old and new that this will be my legacy. And let me tell you, managing to make crispy but oh so tender brussels sprouts that taste like the classic ground beef tacos you had as a kid is that moment.
And the process is simple: just drop the bad boys in the fryer for a few minutes and absolutely coat them with a super easy and basic homemade taco seasoning blend and that’s that on the sprouts. Then to top it all off I find the lemon-lime dip so fun. When you hear lemon-lime it takes you back to thinking about Gatorade, candy, fruit snacks, etc. But in all actuality it packs plenty of zing and coolness from the yogurt to cut through the spicy and semi-charred flavor of the sprouts. Every time I make this I’ll take a sample sprout to see how I did, and then I just keep going and going.
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?