After a week of stomach troubles I was finally ready to cook again last night. I had a little bit of broccoli left over from my last creation, so the side was covered, but I wanted to find something delicious for the main meal. I love shrimp but haven't made any dishes with it yet, so I decided on the Catalan Shrimp in a Sweet Red Pepper Sauce.
A note -- I halved this recipe so that we don't have a ridiculous amount of leftovers, but the full preparation would serve six.
The first step is to roast and peel a sweet red pepper over whatever you have to do this -- the book recommends doing it over charcoal to impart the flavor to the pepper, but my only option was the gas stove. (Have I mentioned how much I adore my gas stove, but the way?) I've seen my mom and sister roast peppers a billion times but have never actually done it myself. Tongs would have been helpful (add that to the list of things I need) but instead I had to rotate the pepper with two wooden spoons.
Once the pepper was blackened all over, I set it aside to cool and began working on peeling the shrimp. I bought fresh deveined shrimp, so it only took about ten minutes to pop the shells and tails of the shrimp to prep it to be cooked. They were sauteed in olive oil for just a few minutes on each side until the shrimp were pink and the whole house smelled delicious. The shrimp is then removed from the oil and set aside, and onion and parsley are added into the same pan and sauteed until they are soft.
Once the onion cooked down, I added peeled, chopped tomatoes and the pepper (now peeled and cut into long strips) to the mix, and cooked them until the tomatoes had created a thick, jammy sauce. White wine and cognac were added and boiled down into the veggies. Once this sauce is prepared, the cooked shrimp is added back in along with a little cayenne pepper and saffron threads (by far the most expensive part of this meal) and cooked just long enough to heat the shrimp.
The broccoli dish had a very simple preparation -- add the broccoli heads to an inch of boiling water for about five minutes, drain them, and transfer to a pan in which garlic and dried chili have sauteed in olive oil. Cook the broccoli in the covered pan and then serve immediately.
I really enjoyed the shrimp dish, but my one complaint about it is that it was a little too sweet. I'd like to do it again, but to kick up some heat in the dish. Still, it was very flavorful and the shrimp was delicious. It would be great paired with a rice dish to soak in some of the flavors of the sauce.
The broccoli didn't do a lot for me, but then, broccoli doesn't in general. It had a little bit of crispy-ness to parts of the broccoli from cooking in the oil, which was interesting, but it didn't seem especially flavorful to me. Luckily, I only made a very small amount of this dish using our leftover broccoli, so no additional leftovers to deal with.
saffron -- $17.99 (luckily, I have several other recipes lined up that I'll need this for)
white wine -- $5.00 (I bought the cheapest wine possible because of how much the saffron cost. We drank most of it.)
1 lb. of shrimp -- $9.99
red pepper -- $2.79
tomatoes -- $3.49 (I bought a four pack and have 2 tomatoes left.)
Total Cost of Catalan Shrimp in a Sweet Red Pepper Sauce: $39.26
(1 serving is leftover)
Total Cost of Steamed Broccoli with Garlic and Chili Pepper: Free