Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grilled Herb Shrimp

Why, oh why have I never tried this recipe before? How in the world did this one slip past me? This recipe is right down my alley…with my long work commute, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare for weeknight cooking. To keep things light, I served this dish with a fresh salad of mixed baby greens (with toasted pinenuts, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, and honey lime vinaigrette) and pearl couscous (made with sauteed onions, chopped parsley, and grape tomatoes).

So yummy! The only changes I would make next time is reducing the salt just a bit and maybe adding a drizzle of honey to the marinade. This recipe will become part of my regular repertoire. Excellent choice by Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen for this Barefoot Bloggers selection!

Grilled Herb Shrimp, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined (with tails on)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup good olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Skewer the shrimp. I use 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 ½ minutes on each side.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Green Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes. It’s such a wonderful comfort food and so versatile for adding flavors. This Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection is my pick! I loved the idea of a risotto with spring green veggies like asparagus and peas. Risottos are not at all difficult to make but it does require attention in stirring the pot for the rice to develop its creaminess. The mascarpone cheese and lemon mixture in this recipe adds an additional creamy and tangy element. This was delicious!

Spring Green Risotto, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

1 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
⅔ cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 ½ cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅓ cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 ½-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.