Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shrimp and mint

I've accumulated some shrimp recipes that I want to work through, and this week I decided to try Mark Bittman's "Shrimp, Roman Style" from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner. I used the variant of shrimp over pasta. Bittman says this recipe is normally used for tripe, which takes a long time to cook, but using shrimp requires much less time.

Season some olive oil by browning a tablespoon of chopped garlic over medium heat. Bittman adds 6 dried red chiles to this step as well, but I used some Korean red pepper powder and added it later, while the tomatoes were cooking. After browning the garlic, turn off the heat for a minute, then add chopped tomatoes to the pan. I used some plum tomatoes, less than the four cups Bittman calls for. They were also less juicy than regular tomatoes, of course, which affected the sauce's consistency. In any case, bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper if desired. By the time I was ready to add the shrimp, the tomatoes were starting to soften.

Cook the shrimp for about about five to ten minutes, until they're pink. Adjust the sauce seasonings if necessary, then stir in a cup of chopped fresh mint leaves. Dump over pasta and serve.

Bittman says the sauce should have the consistency of "a moist, almost soupy stew," but because my tomatoes weren't that juicy, I wound up with chunks of tomato instead, sort of a sauce in parts. I can't say it mattered to me, however, because it tasted just fine. The mint gave an almost electric zing to what would otherwise have been an ordinary Italian-style tomato sauce. It was a good change on Italian food as usual, as well as another dish whose taste outstrips the effort involved in puttting it together.

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