Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mediterranean Shrimp ~ One Dish Dinner

After you've made this the first time, you'll return to it often without using the recipe. The combination of flavors, the ease of preparation and the fact that just this dish and a few pieces of crusty bread make your entire meal, ensure this will become a favorite.

Julian's Mediterranean Shrimp
After having a similar dish where the Italian and French Riviera meet, I came home to attempt it myself. A quick online search found that Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, had a similar recipe and I've adapted that over time. Fennel is typical in the dish, which is a crunchy and slightly sweet vegetable popular in Mediterranean cuisine. It's available autumn through early spring and when I can't get it I substitute Savoy cabbage, which has similar flavor properties and texture. Today I'm making it with the Savoy cabbage but you should feel free to use either. (See fennel photo at bottom if you are unfamiliar with the vegetable.)

Shrimp Ready for Topping
I like to serve one of these large ramekins (shown above) with six larger shrimp (21-25 count) per person if it will be the only item at the meal, which it easily can. You could use jumbo shrimp if you prefer. This dish really contains plenty of vegetables and protein, and with the bread for dipping, it really is a complete meal in one. However, if you are having other appetizers or more of a tapas or summer appetizer dinner, you could make smaller serving dishes, or serve one of the above for each couple. Ina notes she serves it right in the skillet that it is prepared in, which would work well too.

Simple Ingredients
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small head Savoy cabbage or
    large fennel, about 3-4 cups chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato or vegetable paste
3 tablespoons olive tapenade (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 raw, peeled, cleaned shrimp tails on
       (21-25 count per pound)

Chopping the Savoy Cabbage 
For the Topping:
3-4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (see note)
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Pinch of salt and fresh grind of pepper
Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

Crusty bread for dipping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pinch of salt, and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) and the fennel or Savoy cabbage and sauté for 10 minutes, until tender and reduced. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, stir in and bring to a low boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato/vegetable paste, olive tapenade (optional), oregano, seasoned salt, and pepper . Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 10. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary, being careful not to make the dish to salty (remember the topping has feta cheese which is also quite salty.)

Tomato - Cabbage Mixture Ready to Transfer
Transfer the mixture to oven-safe ramekins. Arrange the shrimp, tails up as shown in the above photo, over the tomato mixture. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, bread crumbs, minced parsley, salt and pepper, and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot from the oven, with crusty bread cut into pieces suitable for scooping up the tomato mixture.


My Shrimp Selection


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