We don't eat a lot of seafood around here, and it's not just because fish and shellfish tend to be some of the most expensive forms of protein at the grocery store. To be honest, it's because I'm not entirely comfortable preparing it. Everyone seems to have a story about eating bad fish at one point or another, and not living in a coastal area, I'm always a little concerned about the freshness of the seafood at my local grocery stores. I've grown comfortable with whipping up the occasional salmon dinner (after all, it's tasty, healthy, and one of Justin's absolute favorites), but most of the time, I just can't bear the thought of spending a ton of money on something I might screw up due to inexperience, or that might make us sick.
Nonetheless, when I saw shrimp on sale for five dollars a pound today as part of Dominick's "$5 Fridays" promotion, I decided it was time to be brave. Initially, I wanted to make an Asian-style shrimp soup that my mom makes, and I thought she had once emailed me the recipe. However, a search of my Gmail inbox yielded only one hit for my query of "shrimp" -- a roasted shrimp and herbed quinoa recipe that I had wanted to save, but somehow never pinned to my savory recipe Pinterest board. Given how obsessed we've been with quinoa lately, this recipe seemed like it was meant to be.
Though this recipe was ready in about thirty minutes, making it an ideal quick and healthy weeknight meal, it is not for the feint of heart, or palate. Bold flavors dominated the dish, from the raw herbs and garlic in the pistou (sort of a French riff on pesto) that coated the quinoa, to the potent dried herbs and spices on the shrimp. Justin and I both really liked that the meal had so much going on, but I could see how it would be overwhelming for picky eaters.
This meal was also surprisingly filling. Usually, Justin helps himself to seconds of whatever we are eating (when he doesn't, I start to worry that he didn't enjoy whatever I made), but both of us were stuffed after one bowl. I think it has something to do with the quinoa and its much-touted protein. We're going to have plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which stretches the value of this meal even further, which I think anyone can appreciate.
Given the price of shrimp, we're probably not going to eat this meal all the time, but it is a good meal to have in my pocket in case the shellfish goes on sale again. Plus, I'm feeling more confident in cooking shrimp in my kitchen, now that I've got a success under my belt that doesn't involve simply poaching them in soup. Overall, I'd say this recipe was a success across the board.
Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou
adapted from Food and Wine
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 c. basil leaves, packed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. quinoa
3 c. water
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a resealable plastic bag, toss the shrimp with the garlic and onion powders, paprika, oregano, dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of the oil and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper until coated. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°. In a food processor, pulse the basil, rosemary, thyme leaves, garlic and cheese. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; keep warm.
4. On a baking sheet, roast the shrimp for about 8 minutes, until curled and pink. Cut the shrimp into thirds and add to the quinoa with the pistou. Toss well, season with salt and pepper and serve.