I hated shrimp as a child. Up until about 5 years ago I refused to even try one. Their weird curved little bodies and the memory of a taste and texture I despised were too much for me to overcome.
My mother will tell you that I didn’t actually hate them, I just thought I did. She loves the story about the time in 6th grade when my friend Kathleen and I ate a whole box of breaded shrimp and loved it because we thought they were chicken nuggets. It’s possible that this event occurred, but I would argue that fried breading makes everything delicious and that my child self really did hate those squiggly things.
I don’t remember what pushed me to try them again, but I did.
And I still found them weird.
Shrimp has a strange texture that takes time to get used to. But I did get used to it, and I can now say that I enjoy shrimps meaty but sweet flavour.
That sweet flavour is the perfect counterpoint to heat in this recipe from the October issue of Food and Wine. The recipe is incredibly simple, and yet delicious. It’s great for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking but want to eat real food and not some crappy frozen pizza. I’ll be submitting this post to Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Monday (and I’d just like to say that Magazine Monday is making my magazine habit seem totally justified, thanks Ivonne!)
From Food and Wine
- 1 1/4 pounds shelled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ounce thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced (1/4 cup)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups jarred marinara (I used this easy tomato sauce)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Heat a large pan until very hot. Add the shrimp and cook over high heat until lightly browned and nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Take the shrimp out of the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, and sauté the onions, garlic and pancetta until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan, and add the marinara. Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through.
- Serve with crusty bread.