Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Ah, Spring. The time of year that there is so much competing for my attention that I barely know where to start. I'm working so hard at the office that I barely have time to breathe. The plants in my yard are begging for my attention. Spring cleaning? A lovely dream. I was happy to clean a shelf in my closet. Blogging. Sadly, it's been ignored too. But, it's 8:30 pm and my wonderful husband is in the kitchen fixing linguine with clam sauce and I've chosen to say hello to all of you instead of doing what I should be doing - answering emails. Ah, it feels good to relax with a glass of wine and chat about food.
So, what kind of food do I want to chat about? Ina Garten. You know, I didn't care at all for her when I started watching FoodTV. Can't particularly tell you why. I just didn't. But, she'd come on and I'd not change the channel and she grew on me. Then, I bought one of her cookbooks. I was officially hooked. When How Easy is That came out, I read it cover to cover and mentally bookmarked most of the recipes. How does she manage to make such easy recipes taste so totally wonderful and complicated? I don't know but I do know I think the woman is a brilliant cook.
The other night I was driving from my Greenwood office (south side of Indy - I live on the north side) and chatting with my mom the whole way. No clue what I was going to fix for dinner. Fish or seafood sounded good. We talked about catfish (love, love, love Drick's catfish!!!,) tilapia, scallops, cod and finally got to shrimp. Ah, yes, Ina's recipe with feta cheese. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm addicted to cheese. Ok, I said it. I'm addicted to cheese. We typically have at least a dozen kinds of cheese in our cheese drawer. You heard that correctly, it is not a meat drawer, it is a cheese drawer. I could live on the cheese in that drawer for a month. I have different favorites different days. Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar. I grew up with it and use it on so many things. Blue of any kind. I laugh over the time my ex-husband fixed a pb and j rather than eat the casserole with blue cheese. Actually, Connie laughs about that too because Chicken Elegante is one of his favorites. Fairoaks Farms Swiss. Be still my heart. Goat cheese from Capriole Farms. You've never had anything like it. I could go on for pages but you'd be snoozing at the computer so I'll cut to the chase here. Feta is right up there. I love the pungent flavor. It's got a bite that goes so well with so many dishes. And, I loved the idea of feta and shrimp and tomatoes.
What did we think? We really enjoyed this dish. There wasn't enough liquid for dipping bread so next time I'll figure out a way to make that happen. We didn't have Pernod so used Sambuca. It added a je ne sai quoi that was wonderful. And, I'm not a fennel fan so I used onion. We'll absolutely make this again. And, I'm using the leftovers in a salad with fresh spinach and artichoke hearts for lunch...
Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp with Feta
4 T olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c diced onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 c dry white wine
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 t tomato paste
1 t dried oregano
1 T Pernod or other anise flavored liqueur
1 t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 lb peeled shrimp (I'd take the tails off next time!)
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 c fresh bread crumbs
3 T fresh parsley
1 t grated lemon zest
Pour 2 T of the olive oil in a large skillet. Heat it and add the diced onion. Saute the onion until it's softened.
Add the garlic and cook it for about a minute. Pour in the wine. Then the tomatoes and their liquid, the oregano, (ok, the recipe calls for dried but this is just coming on in the yard and I couldn't resist)
tomato paste, anise liqueur, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes. If your skillet is not oven proof, pour the sauce into an oven-proof baking dish.
Arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce, tails down. Now Ina's recipe called for leaving the tails on. That's a pain in the tookus and I will not do that the next time!
Crumble the feta over the shrimp. Mix the bread crumbs, lemon zest,parsley and remaining 2T of olive oil.
Sprinkle that over the feta. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are nice and brown. Remove the dish from the oven and squeeze one of the lemons over the shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges.
adpated from How Easy is That by Ina Garten