Saturday, July 30, 2016

Easy summer dinner: Garlic shrimp on shredded zucchini with Parmesan cheese & basil

HALLIE EPHRON: It's been so hot here in New England that whenever dinner time rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook, but then when I look at the takeout choices (pizza again? sick of Chinese), I'm driven back to my fridge to see what I can make out of what's on hand.

The other night I came up with a winner. Shrimp (I always have some in the freezer), quick fried with garlic, and served over a bed of shredded zucchini (overflow from Lucy's vegetable garden), topped with grated Parmesan cheese (always on hand) and fresh basil (growing in a pot outside). 

I served it with ears of fresh corn.

Garlic shrimp and zucchini à la Hallie
Serves 2
Cooking and prep time: about 30 minutes

10 large frozen shrimp, defrosted, shelled, deveined, and soaked for about 20 minutes in water laced with about a tablespoon of baking soda
1 plump fresh garlic clove, minced 
1 medium zucchini, grated (use the largest holes)
1/4 cup (or more) of chopped fresh basil
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T butter

1. Prep the ingredients.
2. Drain, rinse, and dry the shrimp.
3. Heat the oil and butter over medium/high heat in a 10" or 12" heavy skillet until butter stops spitting.
4. Quickly sautee the garlic for about 30 seconds and add the shrimp. Cook, turning until shrimp is cooked through (this is fast - maybe 3 or 4 minutes).
5. Remove the shrimp (but leave most of the garlic in) from the pan and immediately throw in the shredded zucchini - lower the heat a bit and cook, stirring until it's just tender. Just takes a minute or two.
6. Dump the zucchini into a serving dish. Top with shrimp. Top with a good handful of Parmesan cheese. Finally top with basil. 
7. Serve with icey Rose wine and crusty French bread. 
8. Enjoy!

What are your summer quickie meals.


  1. The shrimp dish sounds delicious. We always have shrimp in the freezer, too . . . an easy-to-make scampi served with pasta is one of our favorite quick dishes. A bit fussier, but so worth the effort, is a chicken dish with bacon, onions, and leeks cooked in apple cider or apple juice [whichever I happen to have on hand] . . . and breakfast for supper is always a hit around here; salmon quiche is a favorite.

  2. Oh yum! I did a version of that last night with swiss chard stems and my own green beans, plus shrimp and basil, over brown rice (because it was finally cool enough to actually make a pot of rice). The only local corn we've had so far was terrible - not enough water in the fields. If we get more rain, I'll go looking for some! When it's really hot we often just grill a chicken breast and put it over a big salad, with bread on the side.

  3. Looks delicious, Hallie! One quick summer meal I like to do is grilled chicken, with a tomato, corn and basil salad side dish. The tomato and basil I grow myself... but like Edith, our local corn has been pretty bad this year too in ON because of the heat and drought conditions. Our farmers market vendors admit the quality of the corn is pretty bad but I am hopeful that I can get good local corn eventually this summer.

  4. Joan, that chicken sounds scrumptious. Edith, that sounds entirely too healthy. Grace, so true about the corn. I'm guessing the tomatoes will be fabulous.

  5. Oh that sounds great! Perfect perfect perfect!

  6. Anyone tried Haloumi cheese? You put it on the grill :-) and it comes out grilled cheese on the outside and gooey on the inside. It is fabulous on crusty bread.

  7. We always have salmon individually frozen, in the freezer. Costco. I make a salad and we have whatever veggies are on hand--green beans and corn this time of year. The Ohio Valley has had a ton of rain this year, and the corn is fabulous. Wish I could share with you all.

    This time of year we're also taking stock of our venison supply, making room in the freezer for the upcoming hunting season, so hamburgers are another go-to meal, with fresh local tomatoes. And there are always BLTs on hot nights!

  8. Hank, I had Haloumi cheese for the first time in Greece a few years ago. It's delicious cut into cubes and fried in olive oil. I'm going to try it grilled. Right OVER the fire?

    Kare, I'm with you on salmon. And BLTs. And I keep pound-packages of chopped meat in the freezer for quick meatballs.

    Our corn in the supermarket has been great, probably imported from Ohio.

  9. Yes, On the grill rack, of course, right over the fire. Very briefly it just needs to score the outside.

  10. Yum! I'm incorporating that into my go to meal tonight. Perfect dress up for my favorite aglio e olio. Tell me that doesn't sound like a match made in heaven!

  11. That sound delish, Hallie. Will try that sometime this week.

    Today I got cream peas at the Dallas Farmer's Market, first time this summer. So excited. Also, tomatoes, peaches, okra, and some hydroponic watercress and lettuces (only way to have local lettuce here this time of year.)

    Karen, I haven't been to Costco in months!! My freezer is empty. I buy the fresh salmon and cut it up into freezer portions. Also whole fresh trout, organic ground beef, organic chicken thighs. And they have great frozen shrimp. Time to stock up on my go-to meals!

  12. What is the purpose of soaking the shrimp in baking soda?

  13. Spaghetti aglio e olio! Kait, that does sound perfect with this. Turn it into 3 layers with pasta on the bottom.

    Don't get me started on homemade pasta... this is definitely not the season to be kneading dough and rolling out pasta and boiling salt water... but oh, is it good.

  14. Cream peas?? I had to look them up. I've never had them. Deb, if you're out there, can you explain? They look like first cousin to black-eyed peas... fresh not dried.

  15. Libby, it just makes them taste better. Sweeter. But I looked it up. Basically it brines them... freshens the taste, keeps the shrimp nice and moist as they cook and delivers a crisp, firm texture. I've done it every since some recipe I was making said to do it, and I really noticed the difference.

    1. Sounds delish Hallie! Except for the baking soda which adds a ton of sodium😁

      Now I want some of Hanks cheese!

  16. Parmesan cheese: also a ton of sodium.

  17. Perfect! Not only do I almost always have frozen shrimp on hand, at the moment I have an excess of summer squash right now.
    I'm going to try the baking soda trick. "A ton of sodium" is not so bad if you aren't consuming "tons" in every meal.
    Haloumi is great cheese, but hard to find (even in NYC outside of Astoria!).
    Cream peas, Hallie are close relatives of black-eyed peas and crowder and "cow" peas. A friend from the Carolinas introduced me to pink-eye, purple hull cowpeas a few years ago and it was instant culinary captivation! They can be eaten like a green bean or snap pea when young or let dry on the vine and eaten during the winter like any other dry bean/pea in soups and stews. I think they are best when they are fully ripe just before the pods start to lose color, when you shell them and cook them up in nothing but a small amount of water (or pot likker or broth or a combo) add some butter (tons of cholesterol, there Lucy, but I use unsalted) and they are not like any pea or bean you've ever eaten! Delicious! I'd never even heard of them before, and I've never seen them in a market in Europe or here in upstate New York, but I planted 150 of them after I harvested my garlic last week, so I'm looking for a good harvest in the Fall!

  18. I buy fresh spinach at the local farmer's market. I use it in salads, chicken apple, and celery. I also make a mixed bean humuus, spinach and yogurt taco. At least once a week we have fruit smoothies for dinner. We go through gallons of ice green tea, and ice black tea, and dream of snow falling on cedars.

  19. Hallie, this looks great. I love all of the ingredients. Plus, it looks nutritious. Thanks!

  20. This looks so delicious and easy! Definitely gonna give it a try next time I pick up zucchini at the farmer's market.

    My absolute favorite summertime dishes are cold Asian noodles. I love Japanese soba and Korean naengmyeon.

    I also enjoy a sort of chopped caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, basil pesto, balsamic vinegar (right now I have a mango balsamic that is lovely), and a dash of olive oil to loosen things up. Let it marinate in the fridge and eat it as is, as a side dish, piled on some good bread as bruschetta, or sandwiched between sourdough for a great panini/grilled cheese ^^