local shrimp with chipotle, saffron, cumin, fennel; okra, chili

Jumbo shrimp: It’s an archetypal oxymoron, but no less delicious for being a classic. There were also a lot of them this time, a bounty which would have been unlikely on our table had Jean Claude Frajmund not been offering them at a very good price on Saturday (he was in a hurry to close his stall in the Union Square Greenmarket that afternoon).

Did I mention that they were also local? Eco Shrimp Garden has been bringing its harvests to the New York area since 2015. Their produce is extremely fresh excellent whole shrimp which begin as Pacific White Shrimp postlarvae which Frajmund sources from Texas and Hawaii. They’re then raised in Newburgh, New York, on the side (in fact, inside) of the Hudson River, in chemical-free saltwater tanks using sustainable practices.

[note: I had difficulty manipulating 2 huge pans on the limited area of the range top, so the okra ended up less charred, and therefore more al dente, than I would have preferred; I will have to remember to pick a more appropriate vegetable side the next time I have to use a 13.5″ pan for the star of the entrée]

  • one teaspoon of chopped rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm heated inside a (13 1/2″) seasoned cast iron pan over a very low flame until the garlic had colored nicely, then one finely-chopped no-heat Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farms added and pushed around with the garlic, followed by a pinch of Spanish saffron (DO La Mancha from Antonio Sotos), one dried chipotle pepper from Northshire Farms in the Union Square Greenmarket (unpunctured and left whole), and almost a heaping teaspoon of freshly-ground cumin seed added, all stirred for a minute or two, after which 19 ounces (13 by count) of Hudson Valley farmed shrimp from Eco Shrimp Garden were added (their shells all cut with a kitchen shears along their backs from head to tail, to ease shelling once they were served), seasoned with salt and pepper, the heat brought up a bit and the shrimp cooked until firm, turning twice, served on 2 plates with a generous squeeze of lemon, finished with a generous number of chopped stems of fennel blossoms from Lani’s Farm