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from Barrie's cookbook

Shrimp with Orzo and Tomato (Kefi)




  • 16 jumbo (U 15) shrimp, peeled
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups orzo
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 9 whole scallions, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water 3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups smooth tomato sauce or purée (or a good, store-bought marinara)
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Puree (see recipe)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided in half
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves (about 8 ounces)
  • Small handful torn fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, and/or parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garlic Puree
  • 3 cups garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried leaves
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and whole black peppercorns
  • About 2 cups blended oil (50 percent canola, 50 percent extra-virgin olive), as needed
  • Preparation:
    1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and pepper.
    2. Cook the orzo according to instructions and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Reserve, keeping warm.
    3. In a large, heavy soup pot, Dutch oven, or wok, warm the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. When the pot is very hot, add the garlic and shallots, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the scallions and shrimp, and sear for 30 seconds. Add the water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and garlic purée. Cook for 2 minutes and remove the shrimp to the reserved orzo. Continue to reduce the liquid until the mixture has thickened (2 to 3 minutes), and season with salt and pepper.
    4. Place a serving bowl in the preheated oven for 2 minutes to warm.
    5. To the pot, add the orzo and shrimp, half of the feta, and the spinach, and toss to combine. As soon as the spinach has wilted (about 1 minute), transfer to the preheated bowl.
    6. To finish, scatter the remaining feta, the fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.
    7. Garlic Puree
    8. Put the garlic cloves in a heavy, covered braising pan or Dutch oven. Add the bay leaf and thyme, a scant tablespoon kosher salt, and 15 or 20 black peppercorns. Barely cover with the oil.
    9. Cover the pan and braise in a 300°F oven until the cloves are pale golden and very tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool it to room temperature.
    10. Transfer the garlic and all of the oil to a sterilized jar. Press a square of plastic wrap down directly onto the surface of the oil. Place another square of plastic over the rim of the jar and twist on the lid or secure with a rubber band. With every use, replace the square of plastic that touches the oil and use a perfectly clean fork or tongs each time to prevent cross-contamination from other surfaces in your kitchen.
    11. Take 1 cup of the cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a cutting board, allowing all of the oil to drain back into the container. Chop the garlic fine (or purée it in a mini food processor). Film with confit oil and store in the refrigerator.

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    modified: 2011.09.06 | created: 2011.09.06

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