FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE

Nothing comes together faster than a meal involving shrimp. Or sea scallops, for that matter. But in this neck of the woods it is a rare, very rare event to find dry scallops, whereas good quality shrimp is always available. For this preparation, instead of using a full can of coconut milk (so common in recipes everywhere), I opted for full-fat yogurt with a touch of light coconut milk. Worked wonderfully well. Tasty but considerably lighter.

FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 + 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chiles
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
drizzle of honey
dried mint, to taste (optional)

Combine the ground spices and salt in a bowl, add the shrimp and mix to cover it with spices. Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour, if possible, but you can start cooking right away. Mix the yogurt with coconut milk and honey, reserve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, cook, stirring them for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt-coconut mixture, and cook in low-heat until shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce reduces a bit. Add the cashew nuts, dried mint (if using), and serve..

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am calling this dish “Fennel” shrimp because it was the flavor that came through more obviously, at least for me. If you like more heat, add more pepper, or add a touch of cayenne. I love the flavor of Kashmiri pepper, so that’s what I used. If you are like me, and twist the nose at dried mint, I suggest you give it a try. I lost my dried mint snobbism after reading about it in Middle Eastern cookbooks. It has a permanent spot in my pantry now.

Shrimp in light coconut sauce over white rice. So simple, and so satisfying! My kind of dinner!

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CASHEW SHRIMP CURRY

If you need a super quick recipe for dinner, look no further. The preparation is a bit unusual in the sense that you mix white vinegar (which has pretty high acidity) with some ground cashews and spices, use that to marinate the shrimp for a short while, cook it and you are basically done. The shrimp turns out fresh, bright, and with perfect texture. This goes to our regular rotation for sure. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

CASHEW SHRIMP CURRY
(adapted from 660 Curries)

¼ cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup raw cashew nuts, ground to a powder
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
water
finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine the vinegar, coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt, turmeric, and cashews in a small bowl, and stir to make a smooth paste. Pour this over the shrimp, toss well to coat the shellfish with the marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, arranging them in a single layer and reserving the residual marinade in the bowl. Sear the shrimp on each side, not more than 1 minute per side, so it does not get over-cooked. Pour in the residual marinade and stir once or twice. Lower the heat to medium add a bit of water, the lemon juice, and simmer until the sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am usually not too fond of books that showcase hundreds of recipes, but 660 Curries is a beautiful exception. My friend Courtnie recommended and I can see why. It has no photos for the recipes, so it could be a drawback to many people, but the recipes are so varied, creative, that I truly don’t mind using my imagination.

You can definitely use peanuts or other nuts in place of cashews, and when I make it again (because I definitely will and very soon), I will add a few toasted cashews, whole, when serving.

We enjoyed it with sauteed broccoli and a simple rice with chickpeas.  A very simple but super delicious meal…

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POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP

I suppose this could be some type of a personal record. I’ve had this recipe on my list of “must make” for 9 years. I know that for a fact because I used to subscribe to Food and Wine magazine and when I got that issue I could not wait go to the kitchen and make it.  Apparently I was wrong. I can wait like a pro. But better late than never, I share with you a recipe that is quite simple to put together, and results in a creamy, satisfying soup that surprisingly does not have a single drop of heavy cream. I hope you’ll give it a try.

POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine, December 2010)

1/8 cup + 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
Kosher salt
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
One 8-ounce baking potato, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and halved horizontally
2 teaspoons rose harissa (or regular harissa)
parsley leaves to serve (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallots and celery and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth into a bowl and transfer the veggies to a blender. Add 1/8 cup of the olive oil and 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the remaining broth and season with salt. Bring the soup back to a simmer over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the harissa and the remaining  tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt. Add the shrimp to the soup and cook just until they are pink and curled. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I have not stopped kicking myself for taking so long to try a recipe that I knew was going to be a winner. The blending of potatoes with the olive oil gives the soup such a luscious texture that you will swear there is a cup of heavy cream in there. But… there isn’t.

We had this soup on my beloved’s Birthday, it felt truly festive and special. We also had lobster tails on the grill, and there were leftovers of both soup and lobster. Guess what? Next day this turned into a Spicy Lobster Potato Soup. And it was outstanding too.  I see some crab in a future experiment.

Final comment: the soup calls for two types of potato. Yukon Golds are not very starchy, but have great taste. The baking potato brings the starchy component that helps thicken the soup, so don’t omit it.

After getting a comment from the one and only Dangerspouse, I should mention that you should consider making a quick shrimp stock to use in this soup, if you’d like to pump up the seafood flavor.  I shared a quick recipe for it not too long ago.

 

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LEMONY BARLEY WITH SHRIMP AND SPINACH

This recipe used to be a regular rotation in our kitchen then I totally forgot all about it. I was sure it was in the blog already, so I wanted to make it the other day and was shocked because… it has never been shared here. Shame. Shame. Shame. I will not walk through the streets of Manhattan in GoT fashion. Instead, I will quickly share it today, and hope to be forgiven.

LEMONY BARLEY WITH SHRIMP AND SPINACH
(inspired by a recipe from Fine Cooking)

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (save peels for stock)
1/2 large onion, skin on
1 lemon, cut in slices
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 cup + 1/3 cup quick-cooking barley
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup black olives, pitted, cut in pieces
zest of 1 lemon

Make a shrimp stock simmering the shells with the half onion and lemon slices. Season it lightly with salt and pepper. Reserve.  You will use about 2 cups of the stock to cook the barley.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the shrimp seasoned with a little salt until almost fully cooked. Remove and reserve, covered with foil. Add a little more oil if needed, and saute in the same pan the onion and celery  until fragrant, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.

 Add the barley and stir until coated with the oil and veggie pieces. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Pour in 2 cups of shrimp stock, 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender, 12 minutes.

Uncover the pan, add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the reserved shrimp, black olives, and lemon zest.  Adjust seasoning if needed and serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is truly delicious, and I am kicking myself for taking so long to bring this back to our table. It is quick to prepare, and if you like to make it even easier, use chicken stock, store-bought, which is actually part of the original recipe from Fine Cooking. I just feel that if you have the peels available, shrimp stock is ready so quickly, why not up the flavor of the dish with it?  Your kitchen, your decision.
.

 

NOT QUITE MOQUECA

Moqueca is one beloved dish in Brazilian cooking. Several ingredients are mandatory: coconut milk, dende oil, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. The main protein can be shrimp, fish, or both. It is spicy, luscious, quite filling, and always served over a simple white rice. I have already messed up with this classic before, but with this recipe I shall infuriate my fellow native Brazilians a second time.

MOQUECA-STYLE SHRIMP AND CHICKPEAS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1.5 pounds large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (14.5 oz)
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 red or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon harissa (or to taste)
1.5 cups crushed tomatoes with their juice
3/4 cup light coconut milk
fresh cilantro to taste
juice of half lemon

Heat the oil on a large sauce pan. Add the fennel, shallot and bell pepper, saute everything together seasoning with salt and pepper until translucent and very fragrant.

Add the crushed tomatoes, harissa, and chickpeas, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the shrimp and  coconut milk, simmer gently until the shrimp is cooked, 5 minute or so. Add the cilantro, lemon juice and serve over white rice.  If you like, add some hot sauce on the plate.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Moqueca originated in one of the hottest states of Brazil, Bahia. Even though it is a kind of stew, it is enjoyed the whole year, even at the height of the summer. I like to bring this up because those of us living in the Northern hemisphere are headed to very warm days. Don’t twist the nose to a nice serving of moqueca for that reason. This will please you no matter how hot it is outside.

I completely forgot to get fresh cilantro at the store, so I added a couple of Dorot frozen cilantro cubes together with the coconut milk/shrimp mixture. But don’t make this mistake, fresh cilantro not only looks great but it adds a lot more flavor, especially if added right before serving the meal.

I committed many sins with the recipe, but served it over white rice as any good Brazilian would. I hope this helps restore my reputation.

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