Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Summer Screams of.........  Strawberries!

I don't know about you, but when Summer comes I get excited about the foods of that season. One of my favorites..... Strawberries!

Peppered Shrimp & Balsamic Strawberries
I've loved strawberries since I was a child. I remember growing up in Maryland, Mom would take us to the farm where we could pick our own strawberries. You can imagine how that went (one for the for me, repeat!). 

When you go to check out with the farmer, he would weight your basket and you pay by the pound.  When I approach with my basket and badly stained cheeks, he promptly put me on the scale!  A day I'll never forget!

When one thinks of strawberries, thoughts generally end up in desserts, smoothies and drinks.  But there's more to them than that.  Here's an interesting appetizer, Peppered Shrimp & Balsamic Strawberries.  The spiciness of the pepper combined with the acidity of balsamic vinegar and sweetness of the berries create an interesting flavor experience.

Enjoy the season!

Ciao, Chef Joe

Peppered Shrimp & Balsamic Strawberries
Serves 2

10 ea.     Large Shrimp, peeled, deviend, tail on
1/2 tsp.  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp.  Kosher Salt
8 ea.       Strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
1 Tbl.     Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbl.     Balsamic Syrup
2 Tbl.     Unsalted Butter
1/4 tsp.  Fresh Tarragon Leaves, rough chopped
               Fresh Tarragon Sprigs for garnish

4 cups    Steamed Popcorn Rice(follow preparation instructions on the package)

1)    Liberally season the shrimp on both side with ground black pepper and kosher salt.

2)  In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the shrimp and season one side for approximately 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and lower the heat to medium. Add the strawberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque and firm to the touch, approximately 2 minutes.

3)  Turn the heat off and add the balsamic syrup, butter and tarragon.  Gently stir until the butter has melted and all ingredients are combined.

To Serve:

Divide the Popcorn rice between two plates.  Arrange the coated shrimp and strawberries over the rice and garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon.


Popcorn rice is a variety of rice found in southern Louisiana. It's a kissing cousin to Jasmine rice and when cooked has a nutty aroma. If you can't find Popcorn rice, Jasmine rice is a great substitute.

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