Chili Gremolata w/ Roasted Shrimp

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Today marked the first day of garden season for us.  The warmer weather has birthed the daffodils, crocus and all the beauties that wait patiently underground for the caress of the sun.  Soon we will be feasting on asparagus for which I am most impatient, but more importantly to me and my culinary creations is the emergence of fresh herbs.

Edible herb garden at state capital, Madison WI.

Edible herb garden at state capital, Madison WI.

 

 

 

 

 

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I can almost smell the aromatic tarragon and taste the earthiness of the sage and thyme.  My herb garden provides inspiration for many dishes.  In addition to enhancing dishes with their brightness, I often like to make them the star.  Parsley salad, basil pesto, lavender ice cream are just a few examples.  In her book, The Art of Simple Food II, Alice Waters, one of my culinary mentors, has this to say, “Herbs define my cooking.  They provide the freshness–aliveness, really–and the beauty, fragrance, and flavor that inspire and compel me in the kitchen.” 

Today I want to focus on one of the staples in my herb garden and kitchen, parsley.  It offers up a cleansing freshness (slightly peppery) and a deep green color.  Although there are more than 30 varieties of this herb, the flat-leafed variety, also known as Italian parsley, is what I grow and use as it is packed with flavor.  I have been known to sit and eat it by the fistful right out of the garden as it not only tastes good but is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.  It is said that in ancient times parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness, though proof of their efficacy in that capacity is scarce.

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Parsley and garlic are a match made in heaven, the freshness of the parsley is counterbalanced by the pungent spicy garlic.  Gremolata, aka, gremolada (greh-moh-LAH-tah) is a  garnish made of minced parsley, lemon zest and garlic.    Typically a last touch for many dishes, in the recipe I am sharing today where we add a bit of chili and cilantro,  it clearly takes the lead.

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Here is how it unfolds:

 CHILI GREMOLATA w/ ROASTED SHRIMP                           4 servings

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2014

Shrimp

2 red Serrano or jalapeno peppers, with seeds, halved lengthwise

6 garlic cloves, crushed

2 bay leaves

½c extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Gremolata

1 red Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeds removed if desired, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely grated or pressed

¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ c flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1T grated lemon zest

1T extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat peppers, garlic, bay leaves, and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to sizzle, about 2 min. Remove from heat.
  3. Toss the shrimp in the chili oil in a 3 quart baking dish; roast, turning halfway through until shrimp is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile mix the first six ingredients for the gremolata, taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze lemon over the shrimp and top with gremolata.
  6. Serve with couscous, rice, or grilled bread to sop up all the intensely flavored cooking liquid.

This versatile preparation, with or without the addition of the chili and cilantro, can be used to enhance fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork and a variety of vegetables.  Check out this recipe by Ina Garten for Green Beans Gremolata.  It elevates the garden variety green bean to special dinner party status fit for a queen.  So simple and full of possibilities; eliminate the lemon and you have the French, Persillade, used in a similar fashion.  With the addition of the lemon it becomes Italian and taking it further adding olive oil, along with capers and salt (or anchovies), you have a Spanish version of salsa verde, a fantastic sauce to drizzle over meats, vegetables and fish.  So many possibilities for deliciousness.

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An easy facelift for any dish, this is a must try.  I would love to hear how you took this simple herb and spread the love with your creations—one dish at a time.  Coming soon, more herbal magic from my garden to your kitchen, with love.

Jeanne

 

 

 

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6 responses to “Chili Gremolata w/ Roasted Shrimp

  1. Jill Hutmacher

    This is unbelievably perfect timing, as the ” shrimp truck” will be at Steve’s on University Ave. this Tuesday! Time to stock up on fresh gulf shrimp and make this recipe. Thanks Jeanne!

  2. I was thinking the same thing, Jill. I plan to go there myself on Tuesday. I think you will enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you make it! Thanks for your comments. Jeanne

  3. Oooh, I might try this for a party I’m catering this weekend! They want shrimp (or Prawns as they call them over here!). Sounds delicious.

  4. Hi Sallyjane: Hope you like this as much as we do. The fresh herbs in the gremolata make it so bright. Let me know what you think. Thanks for the comments. Jeanne

  5. Jeanne, I’m “most impatient for asparagus,” too (loved how you put that!) but your patience paid off weather-wise as another season slowly but undeniably emerges. (At last!) In the meantime, your gremolata contains all the freshness and vibrancy of Spring… maybe even a prelude to summer? (I love jalapenos.) Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  6. Hi Kim: Thanks for your comments. I always love hearing from you. This simple recipe packs a wonderful flavor punch. I hope you enjoy it. It is starting to “green up” here and the crocus bloomed this week. I think we will see the daffodils bloom very soon. No local asparagus but I did finally see some from the US in the store, I assume CA., otherwise, it has been from Mexico. Getting closer and that raises my spirits for sure. I am celebrating the 2nd annual anniversary of my blog launch tomorrow so todays post will most likely take a turn toward reflection. Take care and thanks for writing. Jeanne

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