shrimp and guanciale

August 31st, 2009 · 22 Comments

heirloom tomato, zucchini, grilled louisiana shrimp, guanciale and torn basil with sauteed arugula

global cooling. or at least it feels that way. the weather here in nashville is struggling to hit 80, and that pretty much means that it’s just plain glorious. temperate and sunny, this including the days just past and the rest of the week to come. since on any other given year it could easily be 90+, this is what you wish – no, pray for – to the god of all things good.

and even though it’s the last days of august here in the deep south, the tomatoes are still extraordinary – and the zucchini is as overly prolific as usual. so i threw together a simple summer dinner using gulf shrimp and just a touch of la quercia guanciale, because i am a very enthusiastic fan of the jowl, choosing it over pancetta time and time again. it’s just well, porkier. AND WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN A BAD THING?

but there was a crisis… a culinary disaster of the very worst kind…

you know how when you decide to sprinkle a touch of red crushed chile peppers from the bottle and you’re talking to your friends and not paying close attention to what you’re doing and you unscrew the cap and shake… AND THE ENTIRE CONTENTS EMPTIES INTO YOUR PAN? well, i did that. but thankfully, my friend rick heard me scream and came flying to the rescue and was on it. we quickly removed as much of the pepper as we could. he carefully rinsed off the dangerously smothered zucchini and tomatoes while i chopped more vegetables to try and spread out the heat a bit… and really? perhaps in the end it was slightly warmer than i’d have wished for – but it wasn’t too bad at all – it was even kinda verydamngood. plus it was a cool evening, so, PERFECT!

i got lucky.

this is my kind of cooking. just winging it, using the best of what’s available. i thought about adding roasted peppers but it was just one more flavor that although would have worked, was unnecessary and i believe in the end would have detracted from the dish.

and so i am forever learning this… that if you have what is already perfect, do the least amount to it and then appreciate it for what it is. for awhile now the food i enjoy the most is an interesting combination of a small number of high quality ingredients.

amen.

Tags: pork · seafood · vegetables

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Choosy Beggar Tina // Aug 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I keep meaning to buy guanciale. Instead, I bought a frozen ‘pork cheek’ from the Asian supermarket. Note: NOT the same thing. At all. Sadly.

    I hear you on the red pepper flakes. Lately I’ve been too lazy to refill my salt shakers and I just pour out of the bulk container…which isn’t working out too well. Huh.

  • 2 nancy at goodfoodmatters // Aug 31, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    great late summer dish…I agree, too many notes can confound the palate. Enjoy the best of what you have by allowing the best to shine.

    it has been remarkable here in n’ville–can’t recall a milder august. two years ago the entire month was triple digit temps. global climate change is strange.

  • 3 patsy // Aug 31, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I love coming up with something on my own from the best seasonal ingredients. It sounds like you managed to “save” the dish and still have enough heat to warm you up on a cool evening.

  • 4 Lauren // Aug 31, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    well it sounded all good until you doused it in spice. it looks amazing, but i think it might kill me. guanciale is my bff.

  • 5 Maggie // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:15 am

    This looks very damn good indeed. I love the magic of meal creation, a little of this, a little of that, a lot of love.

  • 6 Brooke // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:20 am

    verydamngood. Those shrimp look delicious. And jumbo. And a little extra heat never killed anyone.

  • 7 jim voorhies // Sep 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    You lucked out with the pepper. Nice.

  • 8 Peter // Sep 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    NOW I see why you came over and commented yesterday. For a minute I thought that you liked me.

  • 9 claudia // Sep 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    peter – that is so not the case… you sarcastic son of a gun, you…

  • 10 lo // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Porkier is always better. This is completely my kinda meal. Red pepper flake disaster (albeit averted) included.

  • 11 Rebekka // Sep 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Hahaha, that happens to me ALL THE TIME! Especially in aglio, olio, e peperoncino. And then, of course, you can’t really rinse the noodles of the peperoncino without losing all the aglio and the olio. It’s such a disaster.

  • 12 Robert // Sep 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Fret,
    Researching childproof shaker tops now……

  • 13 RENEE // Sep 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    It’s a cool combo – I like it. and it’s carb free. and I voted for you.

  • 14 Tim K // Sep 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I’d eat that right now. Just the thought of it makes me hungry.

    I live in NYC where i can luckily get guanciale easily. It’s a perk.

  • 15 Greg // Sep 5, 2009 at 8:30 am

    First, I’m extremely jealous of your lack of heat. Second, that dish right there? My kind of dish. I could eat that every day – with or without pepper.

  • 16 Becky and the Beanstock // Sep 10, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Hasn’t it been an amazing tomato year? And my chard is still sweet too. I feel so grateful. Even so, I’m ready for fall, even if it means no more tomatoes. Gorgeous dish — pepper included!

  • 17 SpinachTiger // Sep 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    haha, This morning, I made a bad mistake with cayenne pepper and I was watching my neighbor’s two year old twin boys. We had to actually “evacuate” to my house, as we couldn’t stop coughing. Looks like you made a great save.

  • 18 Bill Medifast // Nov 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Shrimp is one of my favorite things to eat and this looks like it would even be something I could make. I don’t usually cook with shrimp, but I think I’m going to start!

    Thanks for this idea,

    Bill M.

  • 19 Amy // Apr 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    This looks very damn good indeed. I love the magic of meal creation, a little of this, a little of that, a lot of love.

  • 20 Rick // Apr 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Porkier is always better. This is completely my kinda meal. Red pepper flake disaster (albeit averted) included.

  • 21 Joseph // Apr 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I love coming up with something on my own from the best seasonal ingredients. It sounds like you managed to “save” the dish and still have enough heat to warm you up on a cool evening.

  • 22 Steve // May 28, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Hahaha, that happens to me ALL THE TIME! Especially in aglio, olio, e peperoncino. And then, of course, you can’t really rinse the noodles of the peperoncino without losing all the aglio and the olio. It’s such a disaster.

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