Congaree and Penn Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Chef Trey Hartinger brings Florida flavors to life with a delicious recipe.

Congaree and Penn Jupiter Rice Middlins used by chiefs and for sale at the farm. TCU alumni Lindsay and Scott Meyer host an open house for social media influencers at Congaree and Penn farm and mills in Jacksonville Florida. The Meyers own and operate the farm where they have created a national following for their unique rice and fruit products. Photographed Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Copyright 2019, Bob Self)

Photo by Bob Self

Congaree and Penn Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Chef Trey Hartinger brings Florida flavors to life with a delicious recipe.

This recipe features middlins and pecan oil, which are available at The product descriptions are from the website.

Middlins ($10 per 1-pound bag): “Congaree and Penn middlins are a nod to the Old South. Originally a poor man’s dish made from broken bits of white rice, our middlins have been cooked at James Beard award dinners and by notable Florida chefs. Similar to a risotto, middlins are a rich and creamy dish that have made a turn toward culinary innovation.”

The farm’s pecan oil ($30 per 250-milliliter bottle) was a runner-up in Garden & Gun’s 2017 Made in the South Awards: “Congaree and Penn utilizes a simple milling process to extract a healthful and delectable oil from Georgia pecans. Light, buttery and slightly nutty in taste, our pecan oil embodies a delicate flavor that enhances the food it’s prepared with. Congaree and Penn pecan oil serves as a great base for salad dressings and marinades and as an elegant finishing oil drizzled over a final dish. With a high smoke point, the oil is also ideal for sautéing, braising and stir frying.”

Yield 6 servings | Prep time 30 minutes | Cook time 30 minutes

shrimp asparagus risotto1 pound 16/20 shrimp (Mayport if possible), peeled and deveined (reserve shells)

1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 rib celery, washed and roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup Congaree and Penn middlins

1 bay leaf

1/4 pound butter, cut in two portions

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

1 bunch asparagus (about a pound), tips removed and split in half, stalks cut into 1/4-inch rounds 

Half a bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped 

1 cup feta cheese, plus more for garnish

1 small whole fennel bulb (including green top), bulb sliced thinly, middle stalks removed, tops roughly chopped

1 tablespoon Congaree and Penn pecan oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine 8 cups water, shrimp shells, carrot, celery and onion and boil until volume of liquid has reduced by about half. This is the broth you will use to build your risotto. Strain it through a coffee filter or fine-mesh strainer.

Return broth to a small saucepan and heat until steaming. Add middlins and stir to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add bay leaf, half of the butter and half the lemon juice and zest and stir occasionally over medium heat as the rice cooks. By the time the rice fully absorbs the broth (approximately 15-20 minutes), it should be near finished and al dente, or have just a touch of texture, enough to stick to your teeth just a bit. If the rice is still underdone, splash water in the risotto to maintain the creamy consistency, but still cook the rice. Finish the risotto by adding the asparagus rounds, chopped parsley and feta cheese. Leave covered, off heat, while shrimp are cooked.

Season and sear the shrimp in the rest of the butter. Keeping the shrimp warm in the pan, stir the butter into the risotto. Plate the risotto into bowls with shrimp on top.

To garnish, combine split asparagus tips with the sliced and chopped fennel and dress the “salad” with the remaining lemon juice and pecan oil. Season with salt and pepper, then top the risotto with the salad. Finish with feta cheese on top.

Source: Chef and sales manager Trey Hartinger for

Nutrition Facts Servings: 6 Amount per serving Calories 497 % Daily Value* Total fat 15.8 g 20% Saturated fat 8.9 g 45% Cholesterol 403 mg 134% Sodium 1,044 mg 45% Total carbohydrates 35.5 g 13% Dietary fiber 3.9 g 14% Total sugars 4.4 g Protein 53.6 g Vitamin D 5 mcg 27% Calcium 292 mg 22% Iron 6 mg 31% Potassium 445 mg 9% *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice. Recipe analyzed by verywell. Jada Willis, TCU associate professor of nutritional sciences, provided the recipe information.