Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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!)

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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
  1. Toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve with crusty bread.


Sunshine Salad

It was pouring rain all day, by the time I was on my way home there were enormous puddles along the roads.  Puddles that went midway up the side of a car tire. Puddles with rushing water. I had to step through one of these puddles on my way home. The moment my foot touched the water my left flip-flop was swept off my foot. I was a little shocked and didn’t realize what had happened for a few moments. By the time I did catch on, the flip-flop had made its way into speeding traffic. I thought about chasing after it, but I’m pretty sure if I had I would have been run over. So instead I walked the three blocks home with one shoe. Fun.

So to bring some sunshine into my evening I made myself a nice salad with mango, avocado, and prosciutto wrapped shrimp. Something about a nice ripe mango makes me so happy, and this one was delicious.  The prosciutto also adds a really nice salty-ness to the shrimp.

Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Salad

  • shrimp
  • prosciutto slices
  • mango slices
  • avocado slices
  • spinach
  • olive oil
  • lime juice
  • basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wrap each shrimp in a small piece of prosciutto, the bake for 4 or 5 minutes.
  3. Mix olive oil, lime juice and basil leave and salt and pepper together.
  4. Toss mango, avocado, and spinach with dressing.
  5. Top with cooked shrimp.

And now I’m going to go eat some ice cream.

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Roasted Calamari Salad

I’m exhausted. Five days in Las Vegas and the red-eye back can really take a lot out of a girl.

Vegas was incredible. The sights, the sounds, and the foods were all amazing. I’ve got quite a list of things I want to reproduce!

But for now I’m looking for quick and easy but delicious. I may have over indulged a little while there, so a salad is just the thing. The tough part about coming back from traveling is having no idea what will be in the fridge. I picked up some fruits and veggies this morning, and had some calamari in the freezer so I decided to throw together a roasted calamari salad.

This salad is very easy to make. Marinate the calamari for 30 minutes, throw the other ingredients together, roast the squid for 45 seconds. Then eat!

Roasted Calamari Salad

  • Calamari
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • spinach
  • nectarine wedges
  • feta cheese


  1. Make vinaigrette. Mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Add calamari to vinaigrette and marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. While calamari is marinating, preheat oven to 450 degrees, and heat a skillet in oven till very hot.
  4. Once heated, use skillet to roast calamari for 45 seconds. Any more than that and the squid will be rubbery (trust me).
  5. Toss calamari with spinach, nectarine wedges and crumbled feta.