Jumbo Garlic Shrimp
with Fennel-Scented Risotto
Yield: 2 dinner portions
A wonderful weekend of birthday dinners ~ starting with this lovely dish of Jumbo Garlic Shrimp with Fennel-Scented Risotto. There were fresh, wild-caught Gulf shrimp at the market, 10-15 count, so shrimp for dinner was in the works.
Here’s the simple preparation.
- 1 lb. fresh, wild-caught shrimp, peeled & deveined (extra large, if you can find them)
Marinate for 2-4 hours in:
- Extra virgin olive oil (Sicilian is nice if you’re preparing an Italian meal.)
- Coarse sea salt (Sicilian Trapani sea salt is an excellent choice, but any coarse grained sea salt is perfectly fine.)
- Red pepper (Calabrian was our choice.)
- Dried Mediterranean oregano
- 1 cup Italian arborio rice
- 2.5 – 3 cups spring water (You could use shrimp stock, chicken stock or vegetable broth. We use water sometimes in place of stock. It’s nice, too, and is less rich, allowing the flavours of delicate herbs to shine through.)
- 1/2 small white onion, diced
- Mini sweet peppers, diced (We used yellow and orange since this is what we had on hand; red bell pepper is also perfect.)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (more, if you like)
- Fresh fennel fronds, for the finish
- Sea salt, fine grain (Sicilian Trapani sea salt is an excellent choice.)
For cooking the shrimp:
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- More extra virgin olive oil
- Olive oil for frying
Heat olive oil in a pan, sauté diced onion & peppers until translucent, then briefly sauté rice. Add water & sea salt, to taste; we started with 2.5 cups of water and didn’t require any more. Cook until done, approximately 20 minutes. Arborio rice will have a creamy consistency. Stir in freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Wait until you’re ready to serve to stir in the delicate fennel fronds.
Once you’ve started your rice, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, with olive oil. Once hot, place the shrimp in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, add sliced garlic, and cook another 5-7 minutes, until done with a toasty, golden color. NOTE: Wait to add the garlic so that it doesn’t burn.
Mound the rice in the center of your dinner plate (you could also use a mold to shape the rice mound), surround with the shrimp. Don’t forget to drizzle any remaining olive oil in the skillet over the dish. To serve, garnish with fresh fennel fronds and lemon. Then … enjoy! Of course, a refreshing, lively white wine is the perfect accompaniment for this meal.