Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Problem Solved

I have a problem that is probably unique to the Fish Princess and is probably not going to get me much sympathy from my readers: I have easy access to seafood but never have any ingredients in my house. 

I avoid grocery shopping like the plague and I spend a lot of time at Gurnet Trading Co. and can always grab something to take home. Most people buy seafood with a specific dish in mind. Not me, I get seafood with a "I'll-figure-out-what-to-do-with-it-later, hopefully-I-have-some-condiments-or-something" plan. 

This very thing happened to me today. I was working with the Fish Queen on our new online shopping cart when I realized that I had no food at home. I stared at the fish case and decided I would do something with shrimp. 

Something With Shrimp

Our favorite cookbook yields amazing results. Many of our cookbooks have a few recipes that we like and a bunch that are lackluster. Not this book. Every recipe we have tried has been delicious. This recipe is very loosely based on Fettuccine with Ham and Peas from The Pasta Bible by Jeni Wright. 

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion diced
1 3/4 cup peas (I always have frozen peas in the freezer)
1/2 cup seafood stock* 
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup white wine** 
1 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan (David is Italian, we might not have anything else, but we always have a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano in the fridge) 
1/2 pound Maine shrimp meat (rinsed and drained)
12 ounces penne 
salt and ground pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not colored.
  2. Begin heating a salted pot of water.
  3. Add the peas, stock, and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for three minutes. 
  4. Add the wine and continue to simmer until reduced. 
  5. Once the pot of water has come to a boil, add the penne and cook until al dente (use the time on the box)
  6. 2 minutes before the pasta is done, add the shrimp and 1/3 of the Parmesan to the simmering sauce.
  7. Drain the pasta, turn it into a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Toss well. Serve with the remaining grated cheese and fresh cracked pepper. 

* Fish Stock: Over the last two years, I have run into a frustrating amount of recipes that call for fish stock or seafood stock. I have found that both can be tough to come by in our local podunk grocery stores and I am not interested in boiling fish heads and lobster shells in my own house. Clam juice is cheap and easy to find and can serve as a substitute. Even better are these nifty little single serving concentrated stock packets made by Swanson. Having them in our cupboard has saved our hides on more than one occasion. 

**Single Serving Wine: I hate to see wine go to waste, so when I open a bottle it usually gets finished that night. That methodology does not always yield positive results. I have found that the single serving bottles are the perfect size for most recipes and they drastically improve my outlook on life the next morning. 

We were very happy with the end result. David went back for seconds, thirds and fourths. It had a very delicate flavor that complimented the shrimp nicely. We decided that this dish would also be great with scallops or lobster.