Wait! There’s Chreemps!

I had a pretty interesting meeting and interview today with the subject of my next article, and Jen (who was driving) kindly agreed to make a detour on the way home so we could pick up my fish order. It’s great that the fish is back, and we took excellent advantage of its return: wild salmon, scallops, and–most interestingly, because of a long hiatus–shrimp. We haven’t bought shrimp for a long time, because they’re mostly farmed in horribly destructive ways or wild-caught in horribly destructive ways. These, from Laughing Bird in Belize, are raised in inland ponds with filtered seawater and vegetarian feed. The company has received approval from the World Wildlife Fund.

So with these treasures in mind I returned home and groped the garden for some of the peas that are coming in with wild abandon right now. There were some chicken bones in the fridge, and a funny sort of mini doughnut of beef gristle that I pried out of the meat grinder after making burgers last night, so I tossed them in a pot with some water and made a quick stock while I minced and sweated half an onion. Then I added rice, then white wine, then began the process of ladling in stock and stirring.

When the rice was just al dente, I added the shelled peas, the shrimp, and some chiffonaded radicchio and oregano, stirring until the shrimp were cooked through and bright pink. I poured the last of the broth in to lubricate the risotto for serving, having guessed pretty luckily about the quantity needed for the random amount of rice I dumped into the pot. And dusted the bowls with Espelette pepper for a much-needed lift; this really could have used some saffron for that extra something, but the hour was late and it’s not normal for me to have the stock power-cooking while I’m already soffrito-ing the meal itself, so I forgot. Sue me. Better yet, tell me you wouldn’t hit this:

I thought so.

4 comments to Wait! There’s Chreemps!

  • Heather

    Nice risi e bisi. One of my favorite fast dinners. Shrimps from Belize? They better be good.

  • fastgrowtheweeds.com

    I agree with Heather: shrimp are some fast food. It is rather horrifying to think how they get to our plates, though; who knows what they've been fed. And of course so few people know this. Does your fish co-op do Maine shrimp when in season?

    *Love* the serving bowl, incidentally.

  • Zoomie

    The simplicity of the meal, the gorgeous bowl – a beautiful whole.

  • peter

    Blanche: I already titled a post "risi e bisi" so I didn't want to use it again.

    El: It's been over a year since we had shrimp. I trust Gerard completely; he knows more about sustainable seafood than just about anybody on the planet. I'm hoping for some of those beautiful Maine sea-grubs soon.

    Zoomie: I might just be making more of these bowls soon.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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