Friday, August 14, 2009

A difference of opinion

Collin and I usually like the same things, gastronomically speaking at least. Unfortunately, we differ greatly on our love of this Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli dish that I got off The Wednesday Chef's blog. It's so simple and so delicious that I felt a little foolish using an actual recipe for it. Still, all culinary insecurities aside, I feel the need to share it with you all.

It's a good idea, combining sweet-briny shrimp with slightly bitter broccoli and finishing it all with a generous squeeze of lemon. The part where I can't seem to agree with my husband is the recipe's use of whole spices. Coriander and cumin seeds, to be exact. I prefer them whole; I love the pleasant little pop each coriander seed makes when you bite into it, along with the tiny burst of concentrated flavor that follows. Those darling seeds of deliciousness wedge themselves happily into the broccoli florets, awaiting my eager teeth to seek them out. They give a nice savory balance to the shrimp, too. Heaven!

Collin does not see the joy I've just described. Instead, he finds the seeds a nuisance, spending more time than necessary picking each and every little seed out of his food. It's sad. Just sad. He prefers it when I use ground spices, claiming that the more even and subtle distribution of flavors is a better complement to the dish. I think we all know who is in the wrong here (hint: it's Collin). I have made it his way a few times, and it's still good that way, but why not try for a little excitement once in a while? I mean, really, how often do you get to use whole spices in your cooking? That's what I thought. Nevertheless, if you insist on wimping out, just substitute ground spices and your taste buds will still thank you.

Oh, and I serve this with basmati rice. The aromatic rice goes perfectly with the dish. Collin prefers it with jasmine rice. Where did I go wrong?

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli
adapted from The Wednesday Chef (who got it from Melissa Clark)
serves 4

2 pounds (1 kg) broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (500 g) large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 large lemon, zested

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven. Squeeze lemon juice (from your zested lemon) all over shrimp and broccoli and toss. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Bah! We all know Jasmine rice trumps Basmati. And Calrose is even better...

    Regarding those whole spices, in my defense they do really overpower the broccoli and shrimp. I guess I just like my broccoli as simple as possible. (unless there's some delicious sauce drizzled over it...YUM!)
    - Your finicky Collin


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