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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Wilkinson

New Year, New Menu

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

I. Love. Fish. It's no question my preferred protein. It's also, sadly, the protein I cook the least. And my New Year's resolution is to change that. I can't imagine I'm alone in my lack of fishy undertakings, so I am determined to let seafood shine this year.


A few dishes from 2020: (Left to right) Grilled Sockeye with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Salmon Sushi Bowl, Curried Fish Ramen


One of the obvious reasons that fish isn't a staple protein in most American households is because most of us are land-locked, and don't have the benefit of swinging down to the local docks for the catch of the day. But oh how the internet has solved that for us. Google "sustainable seafood delivery," and you'll be met with a bounty of results for companies that will deliver every imaginable seafood to your doorstep. Ok sure, it's a little pricier than the farm-raised tilapia you'll find at Giant Eagle. But if you're looking to make heart-healthy swap for red meat, eating fish is the way to go. I plan to try Sea To Table, and I'll keep you posted with my thoughts.



I started off in the shallow end with shrimp risotto and fish tacos, before I toss my family in fully with recipes like Brazilian Fish Stew and Cioppino. They're used to shrimp a few times a month, and you can pretty much put anything in a warm flour tortilla and expect empty plates. I plan to make Roast Harissa Salmon with Lemony Giant Couscous one night this week, then maybe play around with some Greek flavors and Cod this weekend, when I have time to make some fresh garlic Naan.


I'm excited to learn more about cooking seafood this year, and I'd love some suggestions for your favorite recipes and dishes. For now, fish that half bag of frozen shrimp out of the back of your freezer and try this very simple weeknight risotto.


 

Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus Risotto


INGREDIENTS:


-1/2 lb-1lb wild caught shrimp (~6-8 per person, depending on size of shrimp)

-About half a bundle of fresh asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces

-1/2 cup Arborio rice*

-1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

-1 shallot, finely diced

-1-2 garlic cloves, finely diced

-Fresh cracked salt & pepper

-Finely diced chives, grated parmesan & lemon wedges for serving


DIRECTIONS:


In a small pot, bring vegetable stock to a simmer. In a separate saucepan with high sides, heat a drizzle of olive oil and add the chopped shallot. Sauté until slightly translucent and fragrant. Pour in the rice and stir until the rice is coated.


Add to the pan with the rice, a ladleful at a time, the simmering vegetable stock. Once the rice has absorbed the liquid, add more. Continue this process, stirring every few minutes, until all of the liquid in the small pot is used. Heat more vegetable stock if the rice is not fully cooked. This can take 20-30 minutes depending on the level of heat on your stove. The rice should be creamy and saucy. If it seems dry, stir in a few more splashes of vegetable stock before serving. Season with salt and pepper.


While the rice cooks, heat a drizzle of olive oil in another small saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until slightly golden. Season shrimp & chopped asparagus with salt and pepper, and add it to the pan with the garlic. Cook until the shrimp are no longer translucent, and the asparagus is slightly softer. If you have very thick asparagus stalks, I suggest a par boil or steam before cooking them with the shrimp.


Remove the shrimp to a separate bowl, and scrape the cooked asparagus and juices released from the shrimp into the finished risotto. Stir to incorporate.


Serve risotto in a low bowl topped with the shrimp, diced chives, a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan and a lemon wedge.



 

NOTES:

*Arborio is the preferred rice to use for risotto, but I've used white rice, brown rice and pearl barley with the same creamy results. Arborio just tends to be a little more tender with a nicer bite.


*If you'd like to increase this recipe, the ratio of rice to liquid for risotto is 1:3, so 1 cup rice to 3 cups liquid will give you more like 3-4 servings. This reheats nicely for lunch if you have leftovers!



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