Farm Fresh Asparagus, Lemon Papparadelle, Mushrooms, Shrimp, Lemon Balm
Making a trip on over to Maple Acres, the local farm ten minutes away to gather an assortment of fresh colorful flowers for an ailing neighbor I couldn’t resist the just picked asparagus jutting out of the large water lined bowls displayed in various areas around the counter. Bright green and thin, long pencil shaped pick of the day crop seemed perfect for a quick and easy meal with the temperatures soaring at 90 degrees and the classic East Coast mugginess that goes along.
At a recent food event, I learned that asparagus holds a particular status as being among one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.
The scientific confirmation on this finding went left unanswered engaged a little research on this favored spring vegetable whose flavor and color complements well with a broad range of ingredients showing it indeed true that asparagus powerfully provides from among a vast category of nutritional values, and as it stacks up among other vegetables on the planet.
Probably the best-detailed source of easily read information to share on this treasured spring glory throughout the ages is a site called, The World’s Healthiest Foods, a nonprofit whose non- commercial focus involves providing detailed information and awareness on the healthiest of foods throughout the world so I have included the site here if you would like to learn more.
One of the beauties in the versatility of asparagus is that you never have to worry if you have other items in your pantry that will complement it since asparagus is kind of like the friendly kid on the playground that gets along with everyone. Plus you can grill it, roast it, sauté it, you can blanch it. You can eat it hot or cold.
A perfect evening to keep things simple I figured the asparagus would work well with some Baby Bella mushrooms and a bag of Lemon Papparadelle from Trader Joe’s perched on the shelf in the Pantry.
Naturally, I can never seem to keep things as completely simple as that even when I try, so then went the shrimp into the mix because I had an easy-peel bag in the freezer thinking they would add some color and flavor, then of course, if there is shrimp there must be garlic, right?
Then, oh gosh, I just couldn’t part with the shrimp shells so into a little pan they went with about a half a cup of water, a third cup of white wine, a few peppercorns and I just boiled it down to half the amount, yielding a little over a large size ladle, just enough to add to the finishing dish rather than the plain pasta water.
Keeping things simple, oh geez, well OK can you blame me? The leafy herb Lemon Balm from its bright red potted container in my sun room was shooting its delicate wild green leaves at me as if it were crying out, pick me, I did. Overall, still simple this combination created a most pleasant flavor and an enticing bouquet of color to the dish.
The herb lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It can be used in any number of dishes lending a light lemony flavor. I grow lemon balm in about an eight inch colorful glass planter each year to keep it contained, for similar to most varieties of the mint family it will take over a garden.
Today’s recipe, Farm Fresh Asparagus, Lemon Papparadelle, Mushrooms, Shrimp, Lemon Balm utilizes the fresh, healthy vegetable, asparagus, and also easily transitions into a variety of other endless possibilities any way no you combine this pencil like bright green shoot it highlights among the healthiest of vegetables that you can enjoy in our whole planet.
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, plus two additional tablespoons for cooked pappardelle
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined, shells reserved
- 1/2 pound baby Bella mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, woody bottoms snapped off, tops cut diagonally into one inch pieces
- 1 pound lemon pappardelle (found at Trader Joe’s)
- 6-8 leaves lemon balm, stacked, rolled, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Prepare Quick Shrimp Stock: Set reserved shrimp shells into a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup wine, a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook down to half, around ten minutes, strain
- Cook the Pappardelle noodles in salted, boiling water until el dente, drain, toss with two tablespoons butter
- Heat a large sized skillet on low temperature add in the butter and olive oil, swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add in the garlic, cook around one minute, increase heat to medium-high, tumble in the shrimp, and stir through until pink on both sides, around two to three minutes, use a slotted spoon and transfer shrimp to a plate. Add mushrooms into the skillet, cook one minute until just beginning to soften, toss in the asparagus stir and cook another three minutes
- Return shrimp to pan and stir mixture together heating another two minutes before tossing in the hot cooked lemon pappardelle noodles, gently folding together with pan ingredients
- Slowly pour in the hot Quick Shrimp Stock, stir, lifting noodles and combining until flavors have incorporated. Stir through the lemon balm. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust to taste. Decoratively arrange mixture on a long serving platter, serve hot straight away.