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Fish and Shellfish, Mains

Garlic Shrimp With Asparagus

Garlic Shrimp With Asparagus
Los Angeles Times

Although sauteing is at the top of my list, any cooking technique produces good shrimp--grilling, frying, braising in sauce, boiling in a flavorful liquid or steaming. Shrimp are more affordable and easier to prepare than most shellfish, are less temperamental ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 4
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds medium or large shrimp, rinsed, shelled, shells reserved
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried, divided
  • 3/4 to 1 pound asparagus, peeled if thick, trimmed and cut in 4 pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons additional olive oil, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, or 1/2 cup diced drained canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Lemon wedges, optional

Step 1Combine the shrimp shells, wine and 1 thyme sprig or 1/2 teaspoon dried in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain the stock and measure 1/4 cup.

Step 2Cook the asparagus uncovered in a saucepan of boiling salted water until not quite crisp-tender, about 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the pieces, reserving the liquid, rinse them with cold water and drain well. Measure 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Step 3Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper and cook, tossing often, for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through, about 1 minute; when you cut one at its thickest part, it should be white inside. Spoon the shrimp into a bowl.

Step 4Wipe the skillet clean, then heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the bowl.

Step 5Pour the measured shrimp stock and asparagus liquid into the skillet. Boil, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of butter, parsley, remaining thyme and cayenne to taste, if using. Return the shrimp and asparagus to the pan and toss over medium-low heat until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.

Note: Tomatoes and herbs give these shrimp a bright look. To use green beans instead of asparagus, break the trimmed beans in three pieces and cook them about 5 minutes. If the shrimp have heads, twist them off and cook them with the rest of the shells to make the quick shrimp stock; freeze the extra stock to use for seafood sauces and soups. To save time, you can substitute packaged fish or seafood stock, which is sold in specialty stores and some fish markets. Other options are canned vegetable or chicken stock or 2 to 3 tablespoons of bottled clam juice (you use less of it because it's salty). Devein the shrimp if you want.

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