In the Kitchen- Sautéed Shrimp with Arugula Salad
Most evenings, coming home is one of the best, if not the best, part of my day. I walk in the door having just come from a yoga class, drinks with a friend, or a few after work errands, ready to spend a relaxing hour or two hanging out on my couch. But tonight, I locked the door behind me, put down my groceries, and was instantly in a terrible mood.
My apartment felt hot and stuffy after today’s 90+ degree heat, there were weekend bags by the door I’ve yet to unpack, the vacuum cleaner was out in the middle of the living room, the chair by the bookshelves was piled with jackets and books. And when I went into the bedroom to turn on my air conditioner, I was met with the very sad sight of Figgy Stardust—my dying fiddle leaf fig tree—who for the past week has been dropping leaves and rapidly shriveling up before my eyes. Clearly he hasn’t noticed the hours I have spent googling remedies for dying fiddles—comparing photos of other fiddles’ brown spotty leaves to his. But despite his disregard for my efforts, he doesn’t deserve to die. And seeing him like this really breaks my heart.
After a few moments standing in front of my a/c unit with my shirt lifted so the cool air could hit my stomach (I think most city-dwellers without central air know this move) I went to unpack my groceries and was met with this:
...the remnants of last night’s cacio e pepe—a dish with four ingredients that somehow requires the dirtying of twice that many dishes. Washing dishes is my least favorite chore in the world. I’d rather scrub 100 toilets than wash a sink of dishes. And, while I tried my damndest to avoid it, I moved into a dishwasherless apartment that has the smallest kitchen sink ever made. Meaning, even if there are only a few lingering dirty dishes, it appears to be overflowing with pots and pans caked with week-old grease and cheese. I’m better than that, I swear.
So, after allowing myself approximately 90 seconds to dwell in this overwhelming sense of sheer annoyance, I did the only thing I knew to do—poured myself a giant glass of wine and got to work. Of course I was still sweating and since doing literally anything in my little apartment seems to raise the temperature 10-15 degrees, I took off my pants, washed the dishes, blasted THIS song (which, I realized a couple minutes in is actually about a really bad day, like one way worse than mine) and made this meal in my underwear.
And, much to my surprise, things kind of started going better. I found the shrimp I’d bought had already been deveined. When I noticed my sponge was smelly and gross, I looked under my sink and shockingly had a package of new, unopened sponges. When I realized that I’d forgotten to buy radishes for the salad, instead of indulging in a mini meltdown and saying that all was lost and I might as well just order a pizza, I just took a sip of wine and said oh, whatever.
The best thing about this recipe, besides being super quick and easy, is that it is f#cking delicious. I really enjoy cooking but am still enough of a novice that I’m genuinely stunned when things I make taste good enough to be served in a restaurant. And honestly, this sautéed shrimp recipe is something I wouldn’t mind paying $19 for at Café Select. Recipe success.
Because it's light and simple, this is the ultimate weeknight meal. But I think this would also be the perfect dish to make for a summer dinner party. The entire meal comes together in about half an hour from start to finish; there is very little prep work involved; and it is so intensely flavorful, your guests will be singing your praises and jockeying for an invite to your next soirée. And if that won’t turn around a bad mood, I don’t know what will.
Sautéed Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley
1 pound fresh, medium-sized shrimp
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
A baguette (or your favorite bread), for dipping
In cold water, clean, devein, and peel shrimp. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb any excess water. In a large sauté pan on medium-low heat, add enough olive oil to coat and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Add your shrimp so they are all even on the bottom of the pan. Add the zest of one lemon and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes (until shrimp begin to turn pink) and flip. They take no time to cook. Then finish with a handful of fresh chopped parsley, the juice of the lemon, and three tablespoons of butter. Serve hot with a baguette for dipping.
Radish (or not) and Arugula Salad with Pecorino and Lemon
2 tablespoons finely grated plus 3 tablespoons coarsely grated Pecorino
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher or sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
¼ cup olive oil
1 small bunch radishes, trimmed and scrubbed (if you remember them)
4 cups tightly packed wild arugula, rinsed and thoroughly dried
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of finely grated Pecorino, lemon juice, a couple pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. taste for seasoning and set aside.
Slice the radishes into thin rounds. You should have about 1 cup. In a serving bowl, combine the radishes, arugula, 3 tablespoons coarsely grated Pecorino and about two thirds of the dressing. Toss well, taste, and add more dressing if needed. Serve right away, before the radishes and arugula start to wilt!