This decadent lunch of Pesto Shrimp and Tomatoes is was just what I needed yesterday that just happens to be gluten free and dairy free. Still a little jet lagged from my awesome trip to San Francisco and the BlogHer Food Conference (more on that this week), I needed a pick me up. I went out to the garden to see if I had anything still hanging around. I found a few cherry tomatoes and a handful of basil.
Hmm, I have to admit after spending time with Susan Russo from Food Blogga, I was craving a little Italian flavor. I just happened to have some toasted pine nuts on my counter top and I always have garlic and olive oil in my house. With these ingredients already being gluten free I also wanted to keep it dairy free. I decided to give the Daiya cheese (vegan) a try to complete my pesto.
So now what was going to bathe in my pesto? I opened the freezer and there just happened to be some wonderful wild caught U-15 shrimp. I had paid around $12 a pound on sale.
Every time you go to the market check for sales on those pricey favorites. Shrimp is one of mine. If I find a great deal like this I will often get two pounds wrapped separately so I can use them as needed. Today they were needed. I did feel a little guilty making this just for myself, but then I thought, it’s worth it. If I don’t get back into gear no one is having dinner tonight and forget about clean clothes.
The best part about this meal was from the moment I walked outside until I was eating (add in photographing time) it was a total of 20 minutes. That is what I call a top of mind recipe. I think it and then I get to eat it almost as fast.
Prep time- approximately 10 minutes
Cooking time- 5-7 minutes
Handful of organic fresh basil leaves washed and dried
1/2 – 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1-2 cloves of garlic peeled
1/4 cup plus of organic extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper corns (approximately 4 good cranks)
1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese
1 tsp bacon grease or olive oil
handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 pound U-15 wild caught shrimp, peeled, deveined, and dried
Toss the basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or your VitaMix and blend well. You may need to add in little more oil so you don’t end up with a dry paste. This is something you just have to eye. When this is the the consistency you like, add in the Daiya cheese and finish blending. Give it a taste and see if you like it or if it might need a little more of one ingredient.
Heat a large skillet on medium high and melt the bacon grease. Add in the tomatoes until they start to pop. Move them off to the back or side of the pan so there is room for the shrimp.
Add in your shrimp and cook on both sides until they start turning pink and curling.
Add 2 plus tablespoons of the pesto and coat the shrimp. I like to use tongs to mix this together but you can use a large spoon, spatula or scraper.
Slide the shrimp into a bowl and then top with the tomatoes.
Notes: Now the hardest part is not to eat all of this yourself. You can make lots of substitutions on this recipe. You could use chicken or even a firm fish cut into large cubes. To keep it vegetarian and vegan use eggplant or whole cremini mushrooms and swap out the bacon grease for olive oil.
With this recipe I also have pesto left over which I’ll be using to spread on some La Cecina!
If you don’t have basil or pine nuts you can make a pesto out of so many great greens and different nuts. I used a different combo for my Pesto Shrimp on Polenta Portobellos. Play with your food and see what combos you come up with that make your tongue dance.