Easy shrimp and fennel from the Contessa

Fennel and Garlic Shrimp is an Ina Garten recipe, from her new Barefoot Contessa cookbook due out in October.
Fennel and Garlic Shrimp is an Ina Garten recipe, from her new Barefoot Contessa cookbook due out in October. (MAUREEN FITZGERALD / Staff)
Posted: July 27, 2012

Here is an excerpt from the blog "My Daughter's Kitchen."

I always feel a little panicky when approaching the fish counter at the supermarket.

I know we should eat more fish, but, I swear, it always feels like a multiple-choice question on the SAT, trying to decide what to buy.

Is the fish farmed or wild caught? Is it sustainable or endangered? What's its mercury content? And most of all, will you have to remortgage your house to buy enough for dinner?

I don't want to fail the fish awareness test, but I don't want to pay $30 a pound, either.

So it was a relief to come across this beautiful shrimp from North Carolina. They were wild caught, a good size, and they looked great.

At $14 a pound, they were not cheap, but I knew that one pound would feed my husband and me for dinner.

Then I found a simple recipe in the advance copy of Ina Garten's new cookbook that just came across my desk, due out in October: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (Potter).

I love Ina's recipes, not only for the spot-on flavor combinations, but also because they are so reliable. And this recipe for fennel and garlic shrimp does not disappoint.

You simply saute the fennel and garlic and then throw in the shrimp. Just about 30 minutes start to finish, and most of that time is peeling the shrimp and chopping the garlic and fennel.

I used a little less olive oil than Ina's recipe: She suggests serving it as an appetizer with crusty bread to soak up the garlicky juices.

But it works just as well with a tad less oil, and, served with a salad with summer vegetables, it makes a lovely dinner for two.

Fennel and Garlic Shrimp

Makes 2-3 servings

4 tablespoons good olive oil

1 cup chopped fennel bulb,

   fronds reserved

3 tablespoons minced garlic

   (9 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red

   pepper flakes

1 pound (16-20 count)

   shrimp, peeled with tails


1 tablespoon chopped fresh

   flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon Pernod (option-      al)

1 teaspoon fleur de sel

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground

   black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and saute for 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook at a very low sizzle for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic just begins to color.

2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, add them to the pan, and toss together with the fennel and olive oil. Spread the shrimp in one layer and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until they're pink and just cooked through.

3. Off the heat, sprinkle with parsley, 1 tablespoon of chopped fennel fronds, the Pernod (if using), the fleur de sel, and black pepper, and serve with bread to soak up the pan juices.

- From Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten (Potter, 2012)

Per serving (based on 3): 344 calories, 33 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams fat, 295 milligrams cholesterol, 981 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Contact Maureen Fitzgerald at 215-854-5744 or mfitzgerald@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter@mydaughterskit. Read her blog, "My Daughter's Kitchen" at www.philly.com/mydaughter.

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