Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shrimp, rosemary, and zucchini noodles

This dish came out of my fridge and freezer from what I had on hand. I don't usually have zucchini on hand, but shrimp (remember the freezer tidbit from earlier?), garlic, and fresh herbs are all things I keep around. If you keep a somewhat stocked inventory in your pantry/fridge/root cellar (man, I wish I had one of those!) it will make impromptu dishes easy, fun, and creative to make. Good food is easy.

To begin!

This first step is made a lot easier with a mandolin. A musical instrument you ask? Well, that might help, but this mandolin is made for slicing things, usually produce, very thin and evenly. As a side note you will absolutely cut yourself with one of these bad boys at some point. Most likely it will only be once (depending on your learning curve) and it will be a bad one. Respect the mandolin or buy lots of band-aids. If you are mandolin-less just use a knife and try to make the slices consistently thin.
Take your zucchini in hand and cut off the ends and take a slice off of one side to make a flat area to start on the mandolin. My fancy mando' has a ceramic blade (read that ultra sharp and ultra good at removing your fingerprints) and a thickness adjustment. I sliced my zuke at 2mm, but for absolutely no particular reason. So, slice away and make some nice "noodles".

Salting zucchini before using them is a handy dandy tip. Zukes have a lot of water in them and while we need water to live, it also dilutes the flavor and can impede correct sauteing. Moisture in a pan will steam the food instead of letting it nicely brown and develop flavor. Think about the difference between boiled chicken and grilled chicken. I spread my ribbons out on a drying rack, sprinkle with salt, and then dab dry later. You will be able to see the water on the zucchini as the salt pulls it out and concentrates the flavor.

Hopefully you have thawed out some shrimp and peeled them. How many you want to use depends on how many you want to eat, but you might want to adjust your noodle count so the dish stays balanced. I actually didn't make enough noodle so mine was a tad shrimp heavy. Hehe, that is mildly oxymoron-ish. Next I finely minced two cloves of garlic and chopped up the one teaspoon of fresh rosemary. If you only have dried rosemary that is fine but you need to alter the amount. I forget if it is less or more with dried vs. fresh. Google it.

Into a medium hot pan with some oil goes the shrimp and don't touch them for a couple of minutes, then flip once. We talked about sauteing shrimp before so I won't repeat myself. Remove the shrimp when they are just shy of perfect.

Add a dash more oil and the garlic to the pan. When you can smell the garlic, about 20 seconds, add the rosemary, stir, and then the zucchini. The zucchini will become more yellow, vibrant, and flexible as it cooks. When it is tender add in your shrimp and toss to combine the flavors. Plate however you see fit!

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