Johnnycakes are traditionally made with cornmeal. But no cornmeal here; these non-traditional beauties come from a smooth purée of carrots giving them their bold orange color. Too thick to be a crêpe (even though they started life from a Jacques Pépin crêpe recipe) and too special to be a pancake, Johnnycakes they shall be.
Now I suppose you could slather these johnnycakes in some southern syrup — molasses? sorghum? – which would take them in a sweeter direction, say, Flannery O'Connor or Eudora Welty territory. Here, the Florentine treatment of the shrimp recipe takes a more rarefied route. This dish is a journey into the oftentimes delusional worlds of Tennessee Williams' indelible characters, rich in self-regard though poor in scruples and moral judgment.
One can easily imagine these Carrot Johnycakes with Shrimp Florentine on Violet Venable's table ("Suddenly Last Summer"), a little hearty something to tuck into before overseeing the lobotomy of her niece Catharine Holly.
The creamy wine sauce, enriched with melted brie, is so indulgent that most of TW's other characters would no doubt limit themselves to a modest portion. The Amanda Wingfields and Blanche DuBoises in Mr. William's pantheon of grand dramatic personae all have their figures to consider, especially as evening falls on their once-celebrated beauty.
But don't let these frivolous ruminations of refinement and restraint inhibit you. A carrot johnnycake is Stanley Kowalski food, earthy, hearty, thick. And shrimp and spinach would not be strangers in even the humblest of blue-collar homes in Mr. Williams' world.
So fire up the range and fix up a batch of Carrot Johnnycakes with Shrimp Florentine — especially if expecting a gentleman caller.
Click here for the recipe for Carrot Johnnycakes with Shrimp Florentine.