C — I finally get to use sage!
It’s been an abundant year for food from the garden. Its amazing. I think I mentioned all the tomatoes we had. But, there was so much more. In the beginning of the season, Jim planted all sorts of stuff: three different types of kale, two types of basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, tomatoes, chili peppers, watermelons and, of course, our friends the sage plants.
Most of the things we used and had stories to tell. Like the watermelon plants that didn’t get enough sun and ended up having a million seeds in the one that actually grew. It was one of the smallest, grossest things we’ve ever planted. Or, the bell pepper plant that kept on growing, but never produced anything at all. I wasn’t too happy about that one. Or, the Thai pepper plant that produced millions of little peppers, and now we don’t know what to do with them. Hmmm … sriracha sauce recipe might be coming.
Anyway, I digress … SAGE!!!
I asked Jim to plant sage for me. I swore to him I would use it. I promised. He planted three for me, but I completely forgot about them and, even worse, I forgot what I wanted to use them for. Supposedly, there were lots of recipes. Sage is an amazing plant. When a few of the other herbs from the garden died, the sage lived on. All the dill, cilantro and parsley gone. Long live sage.
I love the smell of sage in the house. It makes the house smell delicious. It smells very woodsy in here right now. I might need a sage air freshener… or not.
The taste of sage in this recipe really makes it feel like Fall.
Pumpkin and sage go together well. It’s flavor profile is very complex because of the woodsy quality it has.
|Pumpkin Shrimp Bisque|
- 1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock
- Pinch of saffron threads (about 24)
- 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion (about 8 ounces), coarsely chopped
- 4 fresh bay leaves, torn, or 2 dried
- 3 springs fresh sage, about 3-inches each
- 2 cups pumpkin purée, fresh or canned (see Note)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- About ¾ tsp salt, less if using canned stock
- Scant ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- Peel and devein shrimp, reserving the shells. Cover the shrimp and refrigerate.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium (3-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the shrimp shells to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they turn deep orange and are just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. This step—pan roasting the shells—gives the stock much of its flavor, so take the time to do it carefully. The roasted shells should release a concentrated, toasty, shrimp aroma that will fill your kitchen.
- Add the wine to the pan, first turning off gas flames to prevent the alcohol from igniting. Boil it over medium heat until all the liquid is evaporated.
- Add the chicken stock, saffron, celery, onion, bay leaves, and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Partially cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a fine sieve, pushing down on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.
- Rinse out the saucepan and pour the stock back into it.
- Whisk the pumpkin, cream, salt (omit if using canned stock), and cayenne into the shrimp stock.
- Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook very gently, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice, taste, and season with black pepper and more salt if needed. (The soup can be made up to this point up to 1 day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator. Keep the peeled shrimp in a resealable bag buried in a bowl of ice in the refrigerator.)
- Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan placed over medium heat.
- When hot, add the reserved shrimp and sage and cook, tossing often, until the shrimp are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Shrimp should be pink and no longer translucent, but not curled into a circle. They should still have a tender snap when you bite into them. Arrange the shrimp in warmed serving bowls.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer. Then ladle it over the shrimp.
- Garnish with bits of fresh sage.
Jim loved it. The flavor of the bisque was unique and well balanced.