Monday, January 26, 2009

Turns Out Beets Aren't Gross: Shrimp With Chives, Brown Rice, Roasted Beet Salad

Alright, first things first: the beet salad was Melanie's idea, nowhere to be found in HTCE (though there's a similar recipe I've made top priority), but such an eye-opening culinary experience that I had to include it in this post. But more on that later.

It was inauguration night! We had a new president! One we can respect, admire, look to for guidance in these trying times! Our long national nightmare was finally over, as the shirts they were selling in Union Square read. That calls for a celebration, right? And the proper food for an inauguration is clearly shellfish.

Melanie, David and I left work, took the train downtown, grabbed our groceries (and some booze) and continued on to my place. First, Melanie got the beets we bought at the store roasting in the oven. I'd never prepared, or eaten (as far as I can remember) a fresh beet. Canned beets did not do any favors for the reputation of the beet in my mind. But hey! I try new things! I'm adventurous! And I trust Melanie in the kitchen (she pulled a similar move when she made that braised cabbage dish during our Potato Nik/Top Chef night). She seems to know her shit. Anyway, beets take a long time to roast, like 45 minutes or more, so we got those going right away, along with the rice. Stupid brown rice takes so long to cook. But I'm trying to make myself acquire the taste for it, per Bittman's words of wisdom.

Then we watched an episode of Summer Heights High, ate some cheese and crackers, and had a drink. It's important not to wear yourself too thin, you know?

After happy hour, I got started on the shrimp. Take 3-4 bunches of scallions. Cut 3 of the bunches in half or thirds, and blanch them for just a minute or so. Chop up the remaining bunch, and set it aside. Take the blanched scallions and a clove of garlic throw 'em in the food processor with some of the cooking water and a little salt (I also added a little bit of red pepper flakes) to make a kind of scallion paste. Heat your pan, add some neutral oil, and throw in the shrimp. Sprinkle it with some salt and pepper. I kept the heat pretty low (though still sizzling), because overcooked shrimp is no fun at all. Careful, it cooks really fast. After a minute or two, throw in the scallion mixture, mix it all up, and let it finish cooking. At the very end, throw in the chopped scallion, and you're good to go. This turned out to be fast, delicious, and not only healthy but made me feel full without being stuffed silly. As far as I am concerned, that is the hat trick.

Meanwhile, the beets were done. Melanie peeled them, sliced em up, hit them with some salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, soft goat cheese, and I think some olive oil (Mel, let me know if I missed any of that, I was in shrimptown while you were doing all this). Oh, and walnuts, which were an inspired choice. Anyway, like I said before, this was nothing short of an eye-opening experience. Never again will I avoid beets on a menu. I can now call myself a fan of (fresh) beets. Note: if you ever want me to try eating something I don't think I like, just slather some goat cheese on it.

Oh! One last thing that I think everyone should know: Bittman says, in the intro to the shrimp section that you should always buy frozen shrimp. Not only is it cheaper and longer lasting, Bittman says that most of the shrimp at the fish counter is shipped frozen and defrosted in the supermarket. What a scam!
blog comments powered by Disqus