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Seafood makes big splash during Lent

3/09/2011 16:02:25 PM

he Lenten season is about to begin, and many cooks will soon be scrambling for recipes for meatless meals, especially for the next several weeks.

At my house, we follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent release of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and eat seafood at least twice each week for heart and brain benefits.
I like to serve fish filets, such as pan-roasted salmon, snapper or trout, along with a colorful vegetable or bright green salad; it makes for a pretty plate while being wholly satisfying.

If I want to jazz up the dish, I'll add a red pepper or mango sauce or simply brown some butter to drizzle on top.

Some weeks, when I'm feeling flush or want to make a special meal, shrimp or scallops come into play. Shrimp is packed with protein and so incredibly versatile that it gives me lots of options when planning a meal.

One easy way to enjoy shrimp is tossed with pasta and a fresh vegetable such as asparagus and accented with lemons and fresh herbs; it's a preparation perfect for a weeknight meal or to serve to company.

It makes no difference whether you purchase frozen shrimp or what's in your market's seafood case (trust me, the thawed shrimp in the case came directly from the freezer) because you can easily thaw it by running it under cold water.
In my book, that's what I call fast food.

Fresh asparagus is readily available, and the closer we get to spring, the prices will be coming down, but other vegetables, such as baby artichokes, broccoli or bok choy, would work well here, too.

Serve with a crusty baguette and chilled glass of sauvignon blanc, and you'll have a super Lenten meal or a reason to simply celebrate spring.

Lemony Shrimp With Asparagus

• 8 ounces dried whole wheat blend thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 pound medium or large raw shrimp (26-30 count), shelled and deveined
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 3/4 cup all-natural, low sodium chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
• 1 bunch fresh basil, cut into thin strips (about 1/2 cup)
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 30 seconds. Add asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus is crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Push asparagus to the side, add the remaining oil, and raise the heat to medium-high. Add shrimp and lemon zest and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk together chicken broth and cornstarch and add to pan with lemon juice and basil. Raise heat to high and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide pasta evenly among four pasta bowls and top with shrimp mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

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SRC: http://detnews.com/article/20110304/OPINION03/103040305/1463/LIFESTYLE05/Seafood-makes-big-splash-during-Lent


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