Tuesday, December 14, 2010
How easy is that? ROASTED SHRIMP WITH FETA
This is just the second time I've ever cooked with fennel, but it is fast becoming a favorite vegetable. My new cookbook is just as quickly starting to look like my other favorites. I refer to them as my "scratch and sniff" books since the pages tend to be splattered with evidence of my culinary endeavors. This page has some "good olive oil" blots on it.
4 tbs good olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups medium diced fennel
1 tbs minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup dry white wine (I had to open a split of champagne)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (use the fire roasted ones, yum!)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs Pernod (sorry, had to omit; the fennel took care of the anise flavor)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb (16-20) peeled and cleaned shrimp, tails on (I had colossal, so used them)
5 oz good Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I had 3/4 cup Panko, so used it)
3 tbs minced fresh parsley (had to substitute fennel fronds)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat 2 tbs of the olive oil in a 10 or 12 inch heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8-10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine and bring it to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod (if you have it), salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 - 15 minutes.
Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tbs olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp and serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.
I hope my house smells like this for the next few days! From the moment I tossed the ingredients for the sauce with the sauteed fennel and garlic, my mouth began to water in anticipation. Words can't do justice to this brilliant dish. The saltiness of the feta is the perfect foil for the sweet, fennel-laced tomato sauce. Those fire-roasted diced tomatoes are truly special because I do not care for diced, canned tomatoes and I loved these. I strongly recommend using the Panko in lieu of fresh bread crumbs because the crunch is a wonderful contrast to the creaminess of the cheese. DSO and I made many happy, yummy noises as we ate the shrimp, accompanied by some leftover polenta which I'd sauteed in a smattering of that good olive oil. In the happiest of coincidences, DSO had brought home a piece of baklava (thank goodness official weigh in day is 3 days away). I thought that was a lovely ending to our Mediterranean-inspired dinner. Ina has done it again; the woman never misses!