Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wild North Carolina Shrimp with Capellini & Creamy Tomato Sauce

I have a confession...I have never peeled or de-veined shrimp...until now.  I know, it's crazy, but I always buy shrimp that has already been prepped for me.  However, this week on a trip to the Fresh Market in Wilmington, some wild North Carolina shrimp caught my eye and I decided it was time to learn the art of preparing shrimp myself.  No, they didn't have their heads still attached so I don't feel like I really got my hands dirty enough, but here's what I learned:

Place to shrimp in an ice bath to keep them fresh while you peel them.  Grab the legs and detach the shell, it comes off quite easily.  Use a paring knife to make a small slit in the top of the shrimp, locate the larger vein (which is actually the intestinal tract of the shrimp) and gently pull, it should come right out.  There is a smaller, more visible vein on the underside, which also pops out pretty easy with a little help from your knife.

The recipe that I purchased these shrimp for was from this month's Gourmet Magazine.  I made a few adjustments of my own....

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb peeled large shrimp
  • 3 large garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup sweet (red) vermouth (I substituted Sherry for Vermouth)
  • 1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used crushed San Marzano tomatoes, see my footnotes for why you should try to find jarred tomatoes instead of tinned tomatoes!)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I forgot to buy a lemon, but it was still good without!!)
  • 1/2 lb capellini (angel-hair pasta)

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Saute, turning once, for about 2 minutes.  Stir in sherry and crushed tomatoes.  Add cream and simmer 1 minute.  This is where you are supposed to add the lemon juice that I didn't have, so add it if you do!  Remove from heat so you don't overcook your shrimp.
  • Add Capellini to boiling water and cook 6 minutes until "al dente."
  • Serve pasta topped with shrimp and sauce 
  •  For our salad we grilled cremini mushrooms and tossed them with arugula and shaved pecorino romano, the dressing and marinade for the mushrooms was: red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, and chopped shallots. 
  • Wow, those wild shrimpies were delicious and fresh!  Shrimp are very high in nutrients and a mere 4 ounces can provide almost 50% of your daily protein needs for only 112 calories.  They are rich in selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.  You'll also get iron, those all important Omega 3's, and a few other vitamins and minerals.  Of course you'll also reap the health benefits of the tomatoes in this sauce, although there is a lot of controversy cropping up about tinned tomatoes containing bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen, which comes from the linings of the tin cans and is linked to numerous ailments including reproductive problems, heart disease, and diabetes.  So, try to look for crushed tomatoes in glass jars instead of tins, or even better, preserve your own this fall!  I have my fingers crossed we can get some tomatoes going here and try our hand at canning (in jars) before winter.  This recipe is definitely one of my new favorite ways to eat shrimp (and pasta), it was tastier than any shrimp and pasta dish I've ordered at a restaurant.  The salad was really an afterthought, but turned out really well.  I was inspired by another Gourmet Mag recipe for the salad, but had to make do with what I had in my fridge, still very tasty! 
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Yes, that was over a 2 month hiatus from blog posting!  I guess that is what happens when your hubby returns (finally) from a 7 month long deployment! Yay!  For those who don't know, my husband flies the CH-53E for the USMC and has been deployed this past year with the 24th MEU.  We are so happy to have him back and have really been enjoying being a family again.  On the food front, I have been cooking up a storm, it is so exciting to have someone to cook for that is over the age of 4!  I have many new recipes to post in the coming weeks, so here's a little preview of what is to come:

Rotini with Bacon, Zucchini, Corn, and Pesto
Lamb Riblets with Panko Breaded Brussels Sprouts & Mashed Potatoes

Charcoal-grilled Ribeye & Shrimp with 'Mom's Teriyaki Marinade' and Asparagus
Grilled Fish Tacos in Warm Homemade Tortillas
Phyllo Wrapped Tilapia Fillets with Lemon Shallot Sauce
Slow-cooker Pulled Pork BBQ with Homemade Burger Buns and Broccoli Slaw

Can you tell we've been grilling A LOT?  Summer ain't over yet! 

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