Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Every once in awhile, I'll make a life-changing food discovery in the kitchen that causes me to marvel endlessly and never quite go back to the same way of doing things. Pickling shrimp was one of those times. I've always loved the simplicity and ease of making shrimp. I've roasted it with broccoli to delicious result, I've weaved it in with fettucine and sun-dried tomatoes, I've sauteed it with feta and capers. No matter what the process, it usually ends up working. Shrimp's a good friend in the kitchen like that. Nice and reliable.
What I didn't realize is that pickling the little creatures creates this magical alchemy during which the natural sweetness of shrimp is amplified 10-fold. There's almost no actual cooking involved--you simply blanche the shrimp for a couple of quick minutes, then you mix up this fantastic pickling formula, and let it sit and do it's thing. After about half an hour or so, you've got tender, sweet, slightly tangy shrimp for the eating. It's a pretty perfect recipe, especially for the upcoming warmer months ahead. I ate my batch with fresh roasted asparagus from the farmers' market and some orzo sprinkled with garlic chives, but you could also chop the shrimp up and eat it on toast with a layer of mayonnaise, as Bon Appetit's May issue suggests. Either way, there's no going wrong with this one, folks. Try it out. xo
From Bon Appetit, May 2013
1 pound shell-on medium shrimp
1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeded
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fennel fronds
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook shrimp in a large pot of boiling salted water until just opaque in the center, about 2 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold running water to cool. Peel and devein, leaving tails intact, if desired.
Combine shrimp, fennel bulb, onion, garlic, chile, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, and fennel fronds in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes.
Pickled shrimp can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.