Monday, November 14, 2016

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quinoa, Green Beans and Pine Nuts

I did not eat shrimp much as a kid. I don't recall it ever being served at home. My guess is that was due to cost or maybe because one of my parents didn't care for it much. I've never really asked them. The only time I remember shrimp being served was during the Holidays with the Wilson side. 

My dad was one of 6 kids, raised in a devote Catholic family. Each of his siblings married and reproduced a few times over, providing me with a myriad of cousins and creating a heck of a fun (and huge!) family gathering whenever we got together. I have so many fond memories of massive family sleepovers. I loved how our gatherings were always a three to four day event. The size of the host's house did not matter. Whether it meant bedding 4 girl cousins in a closet in the basement (true story - I was one of them!), setting up a water bed in the garage, or pitching tents out front, we made space where there was none so that everyone could spend the night. There would be humans on every couch and in every corner and I can't imagine the adults ever slept a wink but these were some of my best childhood memories.

These massive gatherings usually took place around Thanksgiving or Christmas and, as creatures of habit, there grew to be a long listed of foods that were expected, all in the name of tradition. There were my grandma's cinnamon rolls, my mom's homemade Frango mints and Aunt Sundee's bean dip. And then there was the infamous "shrimp soup." I really don't know the history behind that recipe (I'm sure I will though after this post!) but it was definitely one dish the kids were glad to take a pass on. The adults, however, were a different story. Somewhere deep into an afternoon of festivities, someone would start squawking for "shrimp soup" and out from the fridge would come a giant, 2-gallon clear glass jar of cold, red liquid. In it swirled bits of celery and tiny cocktail shrimp and who knows what else. I never hung around long enough to find out because you better believe there was no way I was going to be forced to partake. One of the adults would grab a stack of cocktail cups, plunge a ladle down deep into the jar, and scoop out portions of the tomatoey "shrimp soup." Then my aunts and uncles would stand around and talk and laugh and play Pinochle all while drinking their cupfuls of cold soup. The whole ordeal terrified me. Soup was supposed to be hot. And eaten with a spoon. And what the heck were those little pinkish creatures floating around in there?!

Now as a (slightly more) mature adult, I think I would be willing to give the soup a go. In my old age, I've learned that Pinochle actually is really a fun card game and so wisdom would tell me the soup might be quite tasty as well. My aunts and uncles always seemed to really, legitimately enjoy it and now I'm all about adventurous eating. I also recognize that it is actually "a thing" to eat ones soup cold. So to my extended Wilson family, I think this means a gathering is in order. I'm officially ready to try "shrimp soup." But only if grandma's cinnamon rolls and my mom's Frango mints are also on the menu. ;) 

All this to say, shrimp wasn't a part of my regular childhood repertoire but my kids will tell a different story. I don't recall how it happened but somewhere in my adulthood I realized I actually really do love shrimp, maybe not so much the cocktail variety, but the big and juicy kind. I also discovered that it is one form of protein that all three of my kids like as well (a miracle!!) and so I try to work it into our budget to serve it at least a couple times a month. Shrimp cooks fast so it's a great option for rushed weeknights when we have multiple things on the calendar. We have no problem consuming 2 pounds of it between the 5 of us in one sitting...

This dish is so simple and SO YUMMY. As per usual, I'm always hesitant when I see such a short list of ingredients. But when two of them are butter and garlic? You just can't go wrong. The original recipe I extrapolated this from called for asparagus but I'm a big fan of green beans. Feel free to trade them out for each other according to your taste. Also, if you're really thinking, make extra quinoa to set aside so you can use the extra to whip up a batch of Almond Quinoa Breakfast Cookies.

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quinoa Green Beans and Pine Nuts

1 cup quinoa, dry
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 lbs large shrimp, raw & deveined
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Prepare quinoa according to package directions and set aside. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat in a large, nonstick skillet with lid or a wok. Add half of the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 10 seconds). Add green beans and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup hot water and cover and cook until green beans are crisp-tender (about 5-7 minutes), adjusting temperature as needed to keep contents from burning. Transfer to a large bowl and add prepared quinoa. Return skillet to burner and melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute until pink on all sides. Remove from heat and add to green beans and quinoa along with remaining raw garlic. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Serves 4-6

No comments:

Post a Comment

posted by kelsie