A few years ago I discovered the beauty of sea salt. I started out buying sea salt from the grocery store, but the selection was very limited and I knew there had to be a better supplier out there. My search turned to Amazon and Google and I discovered a company called San Francisco Salt Company. Oh my goodness! They have an amazing variety of salt at a wonderful price and great customer service to complete the experience. I have chosen to promote their salt because I use and love it.
It is with this in mind that I bring you Skillet Veggies and Shrimp featuring SF Salt Co. Lemon Rosemary Sea Salt. This is a dish that I first made for my hubby for a stay home anniversary dinner a couple of years ago and it has become a favorite of ours. Not only is it super easy, but it looks beautiful, tastes amazing, and it’s full of nutritious veggies. The best part, however, is that my kids enjoy it. So, get a loaf of good crusty bread, pull out your favorite oil and vinegar, slice up some high-quality artisan cheese, and enjoy a flavorful, fancy, and facile meal. (Yep, I had to look up that last adjective. We’re learning about alliteration in our house so I better walk the talk.)
Skillet Veggies and Shrimp
1 lb each of asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, raw and peeled shrimp
3 small zucchini
1 bell pepper
As I have mentioned before, I don’t really like following a recipe so it may be best to consider this “recipe” more of a suggestion and a cooking method. For you knife scrapers out there, this is going to stretch you a little, but don’t worry, it’s incredibly simple.
I have found that most people who aren’t big fans of vegetables are that way because they don’t prepare them well. Mushy veggies are for making baby food. If you have teeth, don’t overcook your veggies. Cold veggies should be raw veggies. If you’re going to cook them, eat them warm. Salt and pepper, while essential, are not the only spices out there. Branch out a little and discover new flavors. Finally, veggies have a great flavor on their own. Don’t drown them in too much butter and salt.
For this dish, I used asparagus, brussels sprouts, zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and avocados, but feel free to change this up a little. As I was making this, I thought that mushrooms would have been a great addition. I’ve also used green beans which are equally delightful.
The first step is to prep your veggies. For seven of us, I used about a pound each of asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and cherry tomatoes, three small zucchinis, one bell pepper, and two avocados. Keep in mind that there are only two adults in our family, but three of my kids are very hearty eaters. I think this would comfortably feed four to five adults. My favorite way to prep asparagus is to hold it in one hand at the bottom and hold it in the other hand about a third of the way up the stock and break it. This will break it naturally where the tough, bottom part starts to get tender. The Brussels sprouts can be left whole or cut in half. Just make sure to cut the tough bottom off. Finally, dice the zucchini and bell pepper and cut the tomatoes in half. Don’t cut the avocado until you are ready for it. They brown too quickly.
Once your veggies are prepped, set them aside while you prep and cook the shrimp. Once again, I used about a pound of peeled, tail off shrimp. Prepping the shrimp is very easy unless you bought shrimp with the shell still on. In that case, peel your shrimp first and buy peeled shrimp next time. If you want to leave the tail on, go ahead, but just know that everyone eating it is thinking, “This is so annoying! I have to pull the stupid tail off every time I eat a shrimp! Maybe I’m missing something because most of the time shrimp is sold with the tail on. Maybe it improves the flavor to cook it with the tail on. Maybe my palette just isn’t sophisticated enough. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. I better just keep my mouth shut…is that a shell stuck in my tooth? Argh!”
After you have peeled the shrimp, and you’ve taken the time to consider the ramifications of leaving the tail on, toss them with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a few pinches of Lemon Rosemary Sea Salt while you preheat a cast iron skillet on high heat. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet now is a great time to invest. You won’t regret it.
Like veggies, the fastest way to ruin shrimp is to overcook it and they cook fast so keep an eye on them. Toss the shrimp into the hot skillet and spread them over the bottom in a single layer. After about a minute they should start to turn pink and curl. Turn them over and finish cooking them till they are an opaque white and pink color. Remove them from the pan.
Next, turn the heat down to medium and add a little more olive oil to the pan before tossing in the asparagus. Add a little salt (I’m sick of writing Lemon Rosemary Sea Salt so I’ll just assume you know that that’s what salt means from here on out) to the asparagus and cover the pan for about a minute. After about a minute move the asparagus around to cook all sides evenly. As soon as it starts to get darker and look a little soft remove it from the pan before adding the Brussels sprouts and another pinch of salt.
Brussels sprouts take a little longer to cook so cover them and let them cook for about two minutes. The Brussels sprouts should have a little bit of brown around the edges. Give them a toss and then add the zucchini and bell pepper with yet another pinch of salt.
At this point, I’m sure you’ve noticed bits of shrimp and veggies have cooked onto the bottom of the pan. This is the fond and it’s a treasure trove of tasty treats for your taste buds. It’s important that it not remain on the bottom of the pan so deglaze the pan by adding a little bit, two to three tablespoons, of water and scraping the pan with a wooden spoon. We’re not trying to make a sauce so don’t add too much water. Add just enough to get the goodness off the bottom of the pan and then let it evaporate. If you add too much water the veggies will be overcooked by the time the water is gone.
Once the veggies are tender, turn the heat off, taste for seasoning, toss in the tomatoes, and put the lid back on while you slice your avocado. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so. If you’re going to be plating it for a nice picture, place the asparagus on the bottom of the plate, top it will a few large scoops of the other veggies, and then make it look nice with the shrimp and avocado. Finally, add a small sprinkle of salt to finish off the presentation.
If, on the other hand, you’re feeding a family of seven who haven’t eaten in about three hours, but act as if it’s been days, throw the asparagus and shrimp back into the pan and call the kids up for dinner. You will probably already have the avocado sliced on a plate and sitting on the table. Just don’t take your eyes off your two-year-old for two seconds or you will be slicing another avocado.
Now, go get your veggies on, try out this amazing salt, and then leave me a comment and let me know what you think.