Monday, January 10, 2011

The first dinner on our new plant-based diet - shrimp?

Shrimp are plants right? OK - of course not. But tonight I was cruising around the Internet looking for inspiration for supper and shrimp were going to form an important component. They were on the counter and on their way to being thawed, and well, there you have it. Well that and I thought the kids would probably eat them.

So I headed over to Mark Bittman's website because lately he is all about being "less-meatarian." I love that word-meatarian. How about baconarian? Poutinarian? Manhattanarian?  Sorry, I digress. He has written the great new book Food Matters and has just released the companion cookbook, The Food Matters Cookbook (of course). If you are new to Bittman and his evolving approach to food, here's a link to his website where he details the reasons for his own shift towards a more-plant based diet.

But until I can get my mitts on his new cookbook, I'm going to have to troll his website for some doable recipes. First up tonight, Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish. OK - not exactly plant-based. But my idea was to make some rice, top it with the shrimp and then serve up roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli as sides. Big heaping portions of vegetables, smaller than normal portions of rice and shrimp. And let me tell you, it was yummy and beautiful. A welcome way to start our new veggiecentric diet. Hmm, I'll have to keep working on that one.

I was cooking for two spice-averse boys in addition to their dad and me, so I switched in sweet paprika for the hot variety he calls for. I passed hot sauce at the table, but we didn't need it. It was great as is. Next time, though, I'll do the hot version. Or, hold the phone, smoked hot paprika.

Thanks, Mark!

Mark Bittman's Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

Cyn's New Favourite Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish 
(adapted from Mark Bittman's Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers
About 450 grams large shrimp or prawns, peeled, rinsed, and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook until it turns golden, a few minutes.
2. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend and cook, turning the shrimp occasionally until the shrimp are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish and serve immediately over rice, pasta or a big heaping pile of steamed or roasted broccoli.

Serves 4.