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.
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.
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.