“it is spring again. the earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
rainer maria rilke
we are all familiar with the famed and luxurious “surf and turf” on every steakhouse menu and bourgeois shore-side restaurant platter. but spring is here with its bounty of freshness and i think this is a delicious alternative, one that is easy to adapt to your own tastes and preferences. when presented the dish is quite beautiful, the fiddlehead ferns are vibrant and their shape mimics that of the shrimp all curled up on the plate waiting to be tasted. the tender lamb, fresh greens, toothsome quinoa and juicy cherry tomatoes all provide a variety of textures to be enjoyed as you move through the meal. fiddlehead ferns have a very short season, so make sure to look out for them now at the farmer’s markets. if you haven’t tasted them, i think you’ll be quite impressed. they have an amazing green and earthy flavor. i made this last week and my guest and i were so excited to eat it that i took no photos, so the ones above are thanks to google, but i promise i will make this again and update the photos for you, dear reader.
this recipe serves two.
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined.
juice of one lime
spoonful of chipotle sauce
olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
one red or orange bell pepper, julienned
one clove of garlic, thinly sliced
small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
two lamb chop steaks, bone-in
olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat
a few dashes of worcestershire sauce
one small shallot, thinly sliced
small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh mint, roughly chopped
generous handful of fiddlehead ferns
1 cup cooked quinoa
raw mixed greens (enough for a small bed on each plate)
prepare two containers to marinate your shrimp and lamb. in one, toss the shrimp in a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. whisk together the lime juice and chipotle and add to the shrimp making sure to coat evenly. here you can add any other seasonings you might like to use such as red chili flakes, old bay seasoning, or some cumin. in the other container, coat the lamb in oilve oil, salt, pepper, and worcestershire. i also like to add herbes de provence or a bit of sage. seal and refrigerate both containers for up to an hour. during this time you can prep and slice your other ingredients, or go for a run (that’s what i did!).
you will need two sauté pans. these dishes cook in the same amount of time so you get to use your multitasking abilities with this one! depending on how you like your lamb cooked, you might want to take it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking time if you like it on the done side. i prefer it medium-rare, so i put it in the pan straight from the refrigerator.
heat a small amount of olive oil over a medium high heat in each pan. add the lamb steaks to one, searing on each side (about 5 minutes per side). in the other, add peppers, tomatoes, and garlic and sauté until slightly soft. add the shrimp and pour in the marinade. cover the pan and cook the shrimp for about 6 minutes.
when the lamb is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes. leave the fat and juices from the lamb in the pan and return to the heat. add your shallots and fiddlehead ferns and saute for 3-4 minutes.
turn off the heat, finishing by stirring in your mint and fresh parsley to the ferns, and cilantro to the shrimp. let those wilt while you prepare your plates. arrange items on the plate as you see fit. i served the lamb and fiddleheads on one side of the plate, over the quinoa, and on the other side the shrimp over a bed of fresh greens.
the lamb would also be great served over some roasted new potatoes or a wild rice blend. the shrimp would make a delicious taco if you wanted to add some more carbohydrates to the meal.
have fun, make it yours, and as always, buen provecho!