Bon Appétit (February 2013)
We've been making lots of salads these days, mostly to atone for this, but also because in the crop of February magazines, it's the salad recipes that looked best to us.
Some are shaved salads; others make use of some unusual ingredients. But in this case -- a Warm Shrimp and Escarole Salad -- we loved the idea of a salad that won't chill your bones on a cold winter night.
Making this recipe was the first time we've ever deveined shrimp. We rarely buy shrimp. In fact, we've only posted a handful of shrimp recipes in nearly five years of writing The Bitten Word. We've pickled shrimp and broiled shrimp. A few other recipes have used shrimp along with other ingredients. It's a pretty slim shrimp inventory. (Blame chicken). Forrest Gump would be disappointed. (Points deducted for dated pop culture references!)
But we do love shrimp. At our local supermarket, the only shrimp that looked acceptable for this recipe were still in the shell. So we purchased a few pounds, brought them home and started shelling. Deveining a shrimp is actually quite easy -- a paring knife is helpful in removing the unsightly dark "vein" running down the length of the shrimp, which is easily pulled out and discarded.
It's times like this, standing at the sink, deveining shrimp, when we realize we would struggle being restaurant chefs. Deveining just two pounds of shrimp is a somewhat tedious process. A chef working in a restaurant kitchen would face a far bigger pile of shrimp. Like many of you, we have a copy of The French Laundry cookbook. Something Thomas Keller shares in the book always comes to mind when we're doing tasks in the kitchen like peeling and deveining shrimp: "The great challenge [of cooking] is ... to derive deep satisfaction from the mundane." We're not sure we could get there; perhaps we could. Could you?
Anyhow, dealing with the shrimp was by far the most time-consuming task of making this salad. The rest is darn easy. Sauté anchovy, garlic and radishes in a pan. (Do not fear the anchovy in this dish. It literally melts away and gives the dressing a wonderful umami flavor.) Add the radishes and cook briefly. Add shrimp, cooking through. Add the escarole lettuce and wilt slightly. Serve.
At the end, the recipe suggests grated Parmesan and lemon. We actually found that we preferred the salad without Parmesan.
But we loved the salad. The anchovy-garlic-caper trifecta gives the dressing a terrific punch of sharp flavors. The shrimp are a nice change of pace from other dishes we've been cooking. And overall, it's a wonderful diversion from cold winter salads. And we all need that in February.
Warm Shrimp and Escarole Salad
Bon Appétit (February 2013)
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Nutritional Information available at BonAppetit.com
Total Time: 20 minutes
Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
Do not fear the anchovy in this dish. It literally melts away, and gives the dressing a wonderful flavor.
We actually preferred this salad without the Parmesan. We suggest tailoring it to your own tastes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
8 radishes, trimmed, quartered
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 head of escarole, torn into large pieces (about 10 cups)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
PreparationHeat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies and cook, mashing with the back of a spoon, until anchovies dissolve and a paste forms, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and capers; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add radishes and cook, tossing often, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, tossing occasionally, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Add half of escarole and toss until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining escarole and toss until wilted, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
Add Parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.