Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

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I really love shrimp, but since my bad prawn experience and that I’ve tested positive for a shrimp allergy, I decided I better stay away from the whole crustacean family. I know there’s a difference between shrimp and prawns, but I don’t trust that the labels are being used correctly. I’m probably being too extreme because there was a time when I ate shrimp cocktail with wild abandonment. But a potential trip to the ER is not my idea of a good time so I think this isn’t much of a sacrifice.

As a result of my recent distrust of shrimp, I never make it anymore, which disappoints my husband a little. Plus with his innocent “chicken again” comment about dinner, I felt a little sorry for him. On top of that, my super picky son actually likes shrimp so I don’t want to stop serving it. Supposed he suddenly stops liking it?!

I’ve been making a lot of beans lately. I had a lonely single can of beans staring at me from the pantry. I needed to use it somehow. I googled shrimp and beans and found a delicious Kitchn recipe with the world’s longest name. It looked really easy to make. Bonus points.

When you buy your shrimp, keep in mind the cleaning situation. I usually splurge to buy shrimp that has been cleaned, have no shells, and deveined. Some would say to leave the shells on for more flavor, but that’s not my style. I don’t want to spend more time preparing the shrimp than actually cooking the shrimp.

Gather your ingredients. Mince some garlic and then slice even more. It’s definitely going to be garlicky. Zest a lime, cut it in half, and set the halves aside for later. I love using lime even more so than lemon with shrimp. Reminds me of shrimp tacos. Ok, this is going to be a little harder than I thought. Must get those delicious thoughts out of my head as I play the world’s smallest violin.

Chop up fresh cilantro. Set half aside and with the remaining half, add your seasonings (I used a little less red pepper flakes, but I encourage you to use the full amount) and some olive oil. You’re basically making a delicious marinade.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Mix it up and add your shrimp to it. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile stage the rest of your ingredients. You want to be prepared. Shrimp cooks super fast and the worst thing you can do is overcook it. In fact, I usually cook it a touch under (like 30 seconds) because it’ll continue cooking when you remove it from the heat.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Start on your tomatoes. I like using a cast iron pan, but any skillet will do.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Cook them until the skins pop. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. The shrimp will start to turn from translucent gray to a hint of opaque pink. No more than that! I would have taken a picture for you, but I would have overcooked the shrimp. Throw in the beans and sliced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately. The shrimp should no longer be gray at all. It’ll be slightly pink on the outside, opaque inside, and firm (not chewy or rubbery).

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Serve over rice with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Because I can’t taste it, I had to depend on the boys for feedback. My husband made me laugh when he said the dish was a “medley of flavors.” I guess he’s been paying more attention to my cooking shows than I thought. The boy thought the sauce was weird (the tomatoes probably freaked him out), but thought it was a “make again” meal. Two thumbs up!

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large garlic cloves divided
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes about 10 ounces
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Instructions
 

  • Grate 4 garlic cloves into a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining 1 garlic clove and set aside. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the bowl, and then cut the lime in half and set aside. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems. Place half in the bowl and reserve the remaining half.
  • Add dried oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinate 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or heavy-weight skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, and then season with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins start to pop, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp with marinade and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the drained/rinsed beans and sliced garlic. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open, 3 minutes total.
  • Remove from the heat. Season with kosher salt and squeeze the lime halves over the shrimp. Garnish with the reserved cilantro, and serve immediately over rice.
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Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

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Hello COVID-19. You are an interesting creature.

I’ve been hiding out in my house, working from home, making sure my husband (also working from home) understands that it’s not cool to blast rock music while coding, and reminding my son that PE homework should be done outside, not upstairs. These are unusual times to say the least.

The only time I have gone out is to grocery shop (and a couple walks where I socially distanced myself from everyone else), which is an adventure in itself. I’m very organized or try to be. Chaos is not my friend. I’m a list maker so of course I make grocery lists. I plan out our meals for the week, add the ingredients to the list, and follow the list religiously at the grocery.

So imagine a world where I have no idea if my ingredients are actually at the store. Oh, first world problems! But I’ve adapted. No dried lentils so I bought canned, which goes into the soup at the last minute instead at the beginning. Easy peasy. I’m not sure how your grocery store is, but I’ve been fortunate enough to buy meat, eggs, and milk. Except for bread and dried beans, food staples have been plentiful (let’s not speak of toilet paper). I thought about making some bread, but all the flour was gone. Then there were no SunChips. Really people?! Just leave me some coffee and everything will be okay.

I’ve been reading a variety of articles about substituting ingredients. Today I want to share a recipe with you that hopefully you can make without any substitutes, but it’s easy enough to sub out stuff.

I love jambalaya because it’s so uniquely Louisianan with its mesh of French, Spanish, and West African influences. This regional dish reminds me of what makes Louisiana magical. A blend of flavors, architecture, celebration, history, mystery, and nature. New Orleans. French Quarter. Shot gun houses. The deep South. Cajuns. Creoles. Mardi Gras. Bayous. I’m not doing it justice. It’s just so different from my California home that it fascinates me.

Although there are different types of jambalaya, we can mainly agree that it consists of rice with sausage or smoked meat with chicken or shrimp. The dish came out of a need to substitute what the French, Spanish, and Africans immigrants could not find in their new home, and instead, to use what they did have. Sort of like us right now. The Creoles in New Orleans had access to tomatoes so their version of jambalaya is tomato-based to make up for the lack of saffron. The Cajuns, who lived in the rural country near the bayou had access to shrimp, crawfish, duck, and many other critters we might not eat (ummm…alligator…tastes like chicken?), used whatever meats they had on hand.

This recipe from the Food Network is more Creole than Cajun because it uses tomatoes, and consists of a combination of ham and shrimp. If you can’t find those meats because your town is full of ham and shrimp hoarders, use chicken, sausage, turkey, ground beef, pork, really anything you like and can find. As far as vegetables, the base contains onions and peppers, but you can sub out with carrots or celery. You can even get creative and try leeks, shallots, asparagus, etc.

Chop up your vegetables. I like to make lengthwise cuts to nearly the end of the pepper and then slice across for even squares.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Heat up some oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, and throw in your veggies along with some garlic. I love the colors.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

If your grocery store was pillaged of ham, and you are substituting raw meat, except for shrimp, brown it with the veggies.

Next, toss in everything else except the rice and shrimp. Seasonings, tomatoes, ham, and broth. See how easy this is?

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

I made this jambalaya tame with just an 1/8 of a teaspoon, but feel free to throw more cayenne pepper. The original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon. If you’re feeling cautious now, you can add hot sauce at the end.

After bringing it to a boil, add rice. When the rice is done, throw in your shrimp. Shrimp cooks very quickly so no need to pre-cook.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Your apocalyptic meal is complete.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper up to 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 ounces smoked ham diced
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 14 1/2 ounces no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • hot pepper sauce

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. If you are using raw meat instead of ham, saute meat with vegetables until cooked.
  • Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.
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