This dish, from my restaurant and food truck Clara B’s Kitchen Table, has a little bit of everything going on. Sweet, savory and creamy, all balanced by the slightly spicy, smoky edge of blistered shishito peppers.
This dish comes together quickly, so I’d recommend doing all of your vegetable dicing and ingredient measuring before you begin.
Sweet cornbread cream
We’ll start with the cornbread cream. Its decadent creaminess and mellow sweetness add nice balance to the dish. For this sauce, you’ll need a medium saucepan and a blender.
Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add a small glug of oil to the pan, toss in your diced shallots, and stir until fragrant.
Next, pour in the heavy cream. While we’re waiting for the cream to lightly simmer, crumble in some sweet cornbread. Now, this cornbread is already sweet, but add a bit of brown sugar too. Follow with a pinch of salt to taste.
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Once the mixture is simmering, remove it from the heat, stir in the grated Parmesan and pour the mixture into a blender, blending until smooth.
Now on to the succotash, which incorporates that necessary umami saltiness and smokiness into our dish. For this, you’ll need a large pot to boil water, a cast iron skillet and paper towels.
Fill a large pot with water and place it on the stovetop over high heat.
For the succotash, everything will happen in the cast iron skillet. Place your skillet on the stovetop over high heat. Once it’s scorching hot, arrange the shishito peppers in a single layer on the skillet, tossing occasionally until they’re tender and blistered.
Remove the shishitos and toss bacon strips into the skillet, maintaining that same heat. There’s no need to add any oil because the bacon fat will render. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, place it on paper towels to drain.
Decrease the heat to medium, leaving all the good fat and juices from the bacon in the skillet — this will season the shrimp. Spread the shrimp evenly in the skillet. Once they’re golden brown on one side, place the shrimp in a bowl and set aside.
And finally, in that same skillet, add yellow onion and garlic, stirring frequently so that the garlic doesn’t burn. While that’s cooking, drop your gnocchi into the pot of boiling water.
Once the onion begins to color, add in the corn, peas, tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the pot as it floats to the top, and drop it into the skillet with the rest of the succotash. Add the shishito peppers and shrimp (and all the good juice!) and stir very gently.
Plate it up
Now for the final bit. Chop the bacon and chiffonade the fresh basil. Dollop a nice swirl of the cornbread cream onto the plate, spoon the succotash on top, and garnish with bacon, basil and fresh lemon juice. And there you have it, my Shrimp and Blistered Shishito Succotash Gnocchi!