Shrimp and Cranberry Beans

Dinner:  May 1, 2007

This is one of our old standbys – nothing fancy, just a quick and tasty meal for a weeknight. It’s a bit of a pantry staple meal as well; we’ve always got wild gulf shrimp in the freezer and canned white beans in the cupboard, though this time around I used fresh cranberry beans I picked up at Greenwich Produce. Though they lose their pretty red swirl pattern as they cook, I love their creamy texture.

cranberry beans

I started by smashing and roughly chopping 8 large peeled garlic cloves. Three of those went into a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of tomato paste. I cooked that over medium heat until the garlic was golden and the tomato paste began to caramelize, and then added the cranberry beans (about 1 1/2 cups), a sprig of fresh rosemary and 1/4 cup of white vermouth. I let that come to a boil, then added 1/2 cup of water and reduced the heat to low. I allowed the beans to cook, covered, for 25 minutes until they were tender and the liquid was thickened and reduced.

For the shrimp, I cleaned and deveined about 1/2 pound and patted them dry. I placed 3 of the chopped garlic cloves into a bowl with a pinch of kosher salt, some cracked black pepper, the juice of a lemon, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary and about 1/2 cup of good olive oil. I added the shrimp to the bowl and tossed it through, allowing it to marinate briefly, then poured the shrimp and marinade into a very hot cast iron skillet. The shrimp need just a couple of minutes per side; when they are cooked through, remove them to a plate and add a bit more lemon juice to the pan – about 1/4 cup. Reduce it by half and swirl in about a tablespoon of butter off the heat.

Take the remaining two garlic cloves and add them to a sauté pan with a bit of olive oil. Clean one large bunch of bitter greens (in this case, we used dandelion greens) and add them to the pan with a bit of water still clinging to them. Sauté until bright green and wilted, then transfer to plates (gently squeezing out any excess liquid). Spoon the beans on top of the greens, top with shrimp, and spoon some of the lemon butter sauce on top. Finish with a bit of fresh parsley and finely grated lemon zest.

Contadino Pinot Grigio

Wine Pairing: Mike picked up a bottle of Contadino Pinot Grigio, which was light, bright, crisp, and played beautifully with the lemon in this dish. We both agreed it would be a great wine to pair with many shellfish dishes, and we plan to test this theory in the near future.

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7 thoughts on “Shrimp and Cranberry Beans

  1. I must stop reading your blog before lunch. This looks and sounds wonderful! Nice wine choice too. Pinot grigio is our official house wine of summer. I have to ask, though–how do cranberry beans differ from cannellini?

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Well, the cranberry beans are a bit smaller and rounder than cannellini, and they cook to a sort of pinkish color. I think flavor-wise, they are a bit more earthy than cannellinis are. Anyway, I’m growing both in the garden this year, so I hope to have a steady supply of both through the summer and into fall!

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    Ha ha! Thanks, Jan. We generally get the “large” shrimp, which usually end up being more on the “extra large” size… the bowls I plated in (which I wonder if everyone is getting sick of seeing!) are the soup/salad bowls from the Williams-Sonoma Everyday Dinnerware, which we got when we moved into our place about 3 years ago.

  4. Gail M. says:

    I made this last week, and it was great. I served it with Polenta, which was a great addition. I wasn’t totally sure though, should I have poured out the liquid in the pan after I took out the shrimp, and started over for the greens, or should I cook the greens with all of the leftover liquid plus the lemon? thanks again for a great meal!

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi Gail! I’m glad this worked well for you! I generally leave the liquid in the pan after cooking the shrimp so I don’t lose any flavor.

  6. Rita says:

    I just shared this recipe via chat on Facebook with a friend in Italy. She was looking for a bean and shrimp recipe while we were chatting. I asked her what kind of beans, and she said “borlotti”. I looked them up and saw we call them cranberry beans or romano beans. I then looked for cranberry beans and shrimp and you had the better of the two recipes I thought. On my way to shop for Easter dinner, and think this is what we will have tonight while coloring eggs. I love the idea of serving it with polenta too. Glad I found you and thanks for sharing!!

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