Maine Shrimp to the Rescue (Again)

Maine shrimp

Writing out a meal plan for the week is great and all, but there are times, like last night, when I just don’t feel like cooking the dinner I had planned. Thankfully, I’ve stocked up the kitchen with plenty of options for spur-of-the-moment meals, and once again I turned to some sweet little Maine shrimp for a quick weeknight dinner. I put a half pound of the little beauties in a water bath to thaw while I built a risotto: a mix of butter and olive oil, carnaroli rice, plenty of chopped shallot, a dab of double-concentrated tomato paste for color and tang, and the last dregs of a bottle of fizzy that had been lingering in the fridge.

Dinner: February 4, 2010

I usually save my shrimp shells and cook them down to make a tasty stock, but since I didn’t have any prepared I used plain water for the additional liquid the risotto needed. (It was fine, though I will say I prefer the richer flavor the shrimp stock adds. Next time.) The peeled shrimp went in right at the end since they cook so quickly, and I finished the risotto with a knob of butter, a glug of heavy cream, and a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. And dinner was served.

8 thoughts on “Maine Shrimp to the Rescue (Again)

  1. That looks marvelous!

    A quick shrimp stock method I’ve used: peel the the little buggers, toss them in the saucepan with a little oil/butter, toast the shells and any aromatics you want to use (couple garlic cloves, bay leaf, etc.), then add the water for the risotto. Let it simmer away while you’re doing the rest of your meal prep. Then ladle it into the risotto through a strainer. Not perfect, but it does add a little more flavor.

  2. Marcos Castrillón says:

    Jen, if you can get your hands on some, try langoustines for risotto. It doesn’t matter if they are small, since what’s important is the stock, not the meat (although the meat’s nicer than shrimp).
    It’s so rich it’s almost decadent, so keep things very, very simple (i just fry some shallot, add some saffron for colour, one in-season veg for balance, obv parm) but oh God, so, so good.
    Rissotto made with spider crab stock is also incredible, but that the taste can be too much

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    maggie – Ha! Thanks ;D

    Mary – Thanks! I have done that in the past, but I was in a rush this time around (i.e. too lazy to dirty up another pan)

    Dave – I agree!

    Marcos – I think our fishmonger has had them on rare occasions. I’ll have to keep an eye out for sure!

    Lydia – mmmm, sounds lovely. I get through this cold weather by reminding myself that asparagus season is just around the corner!

    Christine – yes! A dab of paste and some of the roe that clings to the shrimp, too.

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