Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

Unfortunately I have a backlog of photographs on my computer, waiting for their day in the spotlight, and too little time to catch you up on all we have been eating. You see, baseball season has started for my two sons. And two nights ago, my dear husband sat down with the calendar and wrote down all the dates we will be at the ball field for games (starting this Saturday). It's thirty four, from now through the end of May, plus playoff games. That does not include the three nights a week of practice which lasts from four until dark.

Right now, I am suffering from shock, I think, and fearing that we will have to subsist on frozen meals from Trader Joes, or that awful snack shack fare (think canned chili and deep fried everything). But I can overcome this obstacle, I know I can. I just think that it will require some serious meal planning and creative use of kitchen appliances, namely the crockpot.

But that is not what I am posting about today. Today I will tell you about the dinner we ate last night; roasted broccoli with shrimp and saffron rice. I had never roasted broccoli, but know that other vegetables take very well to this method (like carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) and was game to try it after reading several blogposts about it and the recipe that started all the fuss in the NY Times. While I appreciated the concept, I did not care for the author's choice of spices, so I altered the recipe a bit to suit my own tastes. But most recipes are like that; they can be altered quite easily with much success.

So I tossed some broccoli and peeled, de-veined shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and threw in some of my preserved Meyer lemons. She started her broccoli first, and added the shrimp after 15 minutes (cooking everything for a total of 30 minutes), but I found that the broccoli was done after 15 minutes (I like mine crisp tender) and the shrimp only took about 8 minutes total. I served the pile of roasted goodness with some saffron rice, which looks and sounds impressive, but is so very easy to make and looked so lovely with the green and pink of the broccoli and shrimp. The meal was easy, only dirtied one baking sheet (plus the rice pot) and tasted pretty good too. If my version doesn't sound good to you, please feel free to experiment with your own!

Roasted Broccoli and Shrimp

1 pound peeled and de-veined, wild-caught, local shrimp (I like jumbo...16 count)
2 crowns of broccoli, cut into sections
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 slices of preserved lemon (pulp discarded), chopped (or the zest of one lemon)
juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss broccoli together with the red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, pepper and preserved lemon. Roast in a large baking sheet for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and toss shrimp with broccoli mixture, taking care to coat the shrimp with the seasonings. If it seems a bit dry, drizzle on some more olive oil. Spread shrimp and broccoli out into a single layer. Return pan to oven and continue to roast for about 7-8 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through and broccoli is crisp tender. Squeeze over fresh lemon juice and serve with saffron rice.

Saffron Rice

2 c jasmine rice
3 1/2 C chicken stock
large pinch of saffron

Heat stock and saffron together in a saucepan. When they come to a boil, add rice, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes more. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.

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