When I started this contest, I thought it would be fun to see what people came up with given the contents of a CSA box –sort of a locavore’s “Chopped”. A cool and wet summer has messed with my hopes of CSA baskets brimming with a wide variety of heirloom vegetables and fruits. Where last year’s boxes featured multiple types of lettuce and greens, this year we seem to be specializing in potatoes! Nevertheless, friends and fans of the Carolina Bed & Breakfast have been busy creating recipes and sending them off to our Asheville Bed & Breakfast for judging. And with the help of a few other judges and my family we have determined the first Oh My CSA Contest winner: Mary Leverette for her Summer Shrimp Soup.
How do you judge a recipe contest? There is the obvious answer of “cook the dishes” but faced with a large number of entries this could be daunting task. So the first thing I did was send all the recipes off to some Chef friends of mine here in Asheville and ask them which ones did they think worth trying. They gave me a short list of about seven recipes.
Reading recipes is an art. Here’s how I do it. Look at the ingredients. Besides the basic ingredients the dish needs flavor. What’s the cooking process? Spices? Herbs? Concentration of flavor through reduction, roasting, searing? Or are you intrigued? Sometimes something looks like it just won’t work but it somehow does. So I went to work.
James and I are with our daughters on a brief week’s break on the North Carolina shore. Between Alice’s Farm Stand and Bill’s Fresh Seafood it’s pretty easy to gather together the needed ingredients. Then the weather conspired to keep me happily inside cooking by raining for three days in a row. My family acted as willing tasters and here you have it–the winning recipe: Summer Shrimp Soup
Summer Shrimp Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small finely diced sweet onion
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds small, shelled fresh shrimp
3 cups blanched corn kernels
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Tabasco Sauce
2 tablespoons freshly minced chives
Saute onion, curry and garlic until onion is translucent. Add shrimp and sauté until shrimp is just pink – about five minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place 2 cups corn, yogurt and buttermilk in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to large storage container. Add remaining corn, shrimp mixture, salt, pepper and Tabasco, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve soup in chilled bowls, sprinkling top with chives. Serves 4