OMG, both the main entrée, Garlicky Shrimp and Tomatoes, and the accompanying Orange-Scented Rice Pilaf with Fennel are an amazing duo that’ll win a spot in your rotation for sure! The combination of flavors in this memorable shrimp dish is reminiscent of cioppino, San Francisco’s popular seafood stew. A jolt of fresh flavor with raw garlic gets stirred into the tomato sauce at the end of cooking, unusual in that it is also an ingredient in the initial stages.
Of course you know I am a strong proponent of using homemade stock because the flavor impact is so much more pronounced than the bland contents of canned or boxed. In place of the clam juice, you could use homemade seafood stock if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand. Otherwise, use a good brand of clam juice.
Although the ingredients list instructs you to get peeled shrimp, buy unpeeled jumbos, the shells will be a perfect addition to your body bag (kept in the freezer.) Accumulate enough over time to make a batch of homemade seafood stock for future recipes. Remember, a pressure cooker shortens the process of making stock down to mere minutes.
The rice pilaf, by one of our all-time favorite chef/authors Molly Stevens, is subtly perfumed, light and fluffy, and compliments the shrimp dish perfectly—especially with fennel as an ingredient in both. In this side dish, you’ll want to incorporate homemade chicken stock (or vegetable for vegetarians.)
Garlicky Shrimp and Tomatoes
- 1 1/4 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
- 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with purée (from a 15-oz. can)
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) bottled clam juice
- 3/4 cup dry white vermouth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Season the shrimp with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Heat 3 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until partially cooked, 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add about two-thirds of the garlic and all of the fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, clam juice, and vermouth. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 12 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the remaining garlic and the parsley. Add the shrimp and accumulated juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over the Orange-Scented Rice Pilaf, recipe below…
By Selma Brown Morrow from Fine Cooking
Orange-Scented Rice Pilaf with Fennel
Once finished, the rice can sit, covered, for up to 30 minutes before serving.
Orange-Scented Rice Pilaf with Fennel
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup finely chopped fennel (1/2 small bulb)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
- 1-1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati
- 2-3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2 strips orange zest
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium (3-qt.) saucepan. Add the fennel and onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are glossy and beginning to crackle, about 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, orange zest, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, about 17 minutes.
- Off the heat, remove the lid, lay a kitchen towel over the pot, replace the lid, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.