These adolescent days of early spring are awkward for vegetable lovers. The mailbox is full of magazines bursting with peas, asparagus and even strawberries. The air is flush with anticipation. Bellies are all a-rumble. But for many of us, twiddling our thumbs and leaning awkwardly with our friends against the walls of the middle-school gymnasium during the slow dances, the fertile days of real-life spring are still months away.
What to eat during this ungainly season? Doritos with French onion dip? Pepperoni pizza? Munchkin donuts? Oh wait, this isn't a real eighth grade dance. All we need to do is stick with earthy, savory winter produce like kale and shiitakes for a little while longer while nature continues to work its magic. In the grand scheme of adolescence, it's hardly traumatizing at all.
This quick dinner is a last hurrah for our favorite winter vegetables. It's packed with both nutrients and flavor to tide you over until real life begins to approximate the verdant spring beauty portrayed in the glossies.
About the author: Carolyn Cope writes Umami Girl and manages a CSA in New Jersey.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 bunches Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and cleaned
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a wide frying pan. Add the onion and shiitakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Add the kale by the handful and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and almost tender, about 3 minutes. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan to make room for the shrimp. Then add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally , until not quite opaque, about 3 minutes.
Add the soy sauce, wine, and cream if using, and cook until sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.