Shrimp With Green Garlic Pesto
- Servings: 4 as a starter, 2 as a main course.
Late spring and early summer can bring us some of the brightest flavors of the year. Farmers markets and Greenmarkets are already rich with such early vegetables as green garlic, ramps and spring onions. Their flavors are aggressive and can be at their best when combined with other ingredients.
Green garlic, sometimes called spring garlic, can resemble scallions on steroids and is a huge treat with its light, green and almost sweet garlic flavor. In this recipe, green garlic is the centerpiece in a pesto in which shrimp is marinated for about an hour, then simply broiled. Although you might think the pesto will burn, it doesn't, which means you can leave most of the marinade on the shrimp even while under the broiler.
The broiled shrimp is excellent added to a salad, to pasta, or alongside roasted or pan grilled vegetables.
City kitchens don't usually have access to grills but this recipe and cooking method could easily be used for grilled shrimp. It's essential that the shrimp be peeled so that the marinade flavor permeates the shrimp.
If you want to make extra pesto to serve on pasta or with a vegetable such as white cannellini beans, keep it reserved for that use instead of recycling any of the pesto from the shrimp marinade. After it's been used as a marinade, any leftovers should be discarded.
This recipe can also be made with ramps or spring onions.
- 1 to 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (always look for wild, not farmed shrimp)
- 1 large bunch -- about 4 to 6 stalks -- green garlic
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse in cool water and dry completely with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Place in a single layer in a flat serving dish, sheet pan or roasting pan.
- Trim the spring garlic by removing the rough ends of the dark green stalks and the roots, leaving the entire white and pale green sections of each piece. Cut off any marked exterior pieces of the stalks.
- Cut the garlic into 2-inch pieces, looking for any interior dirt that may especially be in the green sections of the stalk.
- In a food processor or blender combine the pieces of spring garlic with the salt and red pepper flakes. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the garlic is in small bits.
- With the food processor running, pour the olive oil through the top and let a wet paste form. Pour this mixture over the shrimp and using your fingers, make sure that each piece of shrimp is coated.
- Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
- Place your broiler rack to its highest level and pre-heat the broiler for about 5 minutes.
- Place a rack inside a sheet pan or else use the broiler pan that comes with your stove. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer, leaving some of the marinade still on each shrimp -- you don't want them to be coated but to have some bits of the garlic adhering.
- Broil for 3 minutes per side until the shrimp is opaque and just beginning to brown on the edges.
- Remove and either serve immediately or else let cool to room temperature.
Serve with pasta, rice or steamed potatoes -- something that will help mop up any leftover pesto.