By STEVEN DESALVO
For Montclair Local
With the weather finally starting to turn it’s time to dust the cobwebs off the grill.
One of my favorite things to grill is shrimp, because they take barely minutes to cook, and the flavor the grill imparts is unmatched. The best part about this preparation is that you can also cook it entirely in one pan inside if the weather is not yet quite warm enough for you.
It is also a perfect dish for this sort of midseason weather, since the flavors are light and fresh while the cannellini beans add some heartiness to it.
All in all this dish shouldn’t take any more than 30 minutes, including cleanup, which is why it is one of my go-to recipes. It is a perfect weeknight dinner that is great for days after, even cold!
- 1½ lbs. peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp (15-20 per pound)
- Vegetable oil (I use canola)
- Black pepper
- ½ yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 pint dry white wine (I usually use pinot grigio for cooking)
- 1 quart shellfish stock. If you buy your shrimp with shells on you can use those to make a quick stock with whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. If you use store-bought stock I’d suggest low-sodium.
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into medium dice
- 4-5 sprigs tarragon, leaves removed and finely minced
- 8-10 medium-sized basil leaves, cut into a thin chiffonade
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Grill. If gas, set it to medium heat; if not, just get it nice and hot.
- Large flat-bottomed pan (if you have nonstick that would be ideal). This is to make the sauce and finish the shrimp.
- Set of tongs
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Lay the shrimp out and pat them dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. If you are grilling them, coat with vegetable oil before seasoning. The reason I use canola oil rather than olive oil is that it has a much higher smoke point; furthermore, cooking with expensive olive oil eliminates much of its flavor.
- Grill/sear the shrimp for about 45 seconds a side. You do not want to cook the shrimp all the way through. It is best to do them in batches, with space in between them so they can brown.
- Put the shrimp on a tray and set aside.
- If you used a grill for the shrimp, set the large pan on the stove and get it quite hot. Add canola oil, onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper. If you used the pan to sear the shrimp, just add more oil to it before adding the onion and garlic.
- When the onion is translucent, deglaze the pan with white wine, then add shellfish stock.
- Keep the heat relatively high and reduce the mixture by half, then add the rinsed cannellini beans and the butter.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. (It is important to wait to season until after the mixture has reduced, otherwise the salt you add will significantly intensify, making the dish too salty.)
- Add the shrimp to the pan; once they are almost fully cooked, add the diced tomato and minced tarragon.
- Add the basil and extra-virgin olive oil either on the platter or the plate.
Serves 4 as an entrée.
As always there is plenty of room for interpretation within this recipe. You can add leafy greens like spinach or kale in between steps 4 and 5. You can also substitute scallops or lobster for the shrimp if you feel like treating yourself.
This dish will also work perfectly if you substitute chicken thighs or breast for the shrimp, just don’t forget to use chicken stock instead of shellfish.
Feel free to let us know what twists you added when you try this recipe at home. Happy eating!
In Recipe of the Month, food writer Steven DeSalvo shares a recipe Montclairians might enjoy making. DeSalvo has a degree in hospitality business management from the University of Delaware and has worked extensively in restaurants and hotels. If there is something you want to know how to make, or you’ve eaten a dish at a local restaurant you are dying to make at home, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.