Saying goodbye to palm trees and white sand beaches weren’t the only things left behind when I moved to New York. Pink Key West shrimp, red snapper, and stone crab were also part of everyday life in the sunshine state. Oh how I love me some stone crab. You don’t get to enjoy that kind of seafood very often here. I even get overly excited when I see mahi or grouper pop up at the seafood counter. It’s rare. Very rare.
My husband’s birthday is coming up. Usually with a birthday comes a birthday dinner. What does he want? Crab legs. King crab to be exact. Giant crab legs, a bucket, and a bib. He’s easy to please. So I’ve been on a mission to find a restaurant here in the city that serves crab legs only to find lobster on the menus. Talk about disappointment. King crab is available in limited quantities at the store, but it’s insanely expensive. But hey, it’s a special occasion. That might be our only route. That and a good bottle of wine.
Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to be roasting some shrimp with feta? Um, yes. I love cooking seafood in new ways, especially shrimp because it’s so versatile. You’re probably thinking. Jen, cheese in seafood? Really? Why yes. This is that one time where it’s ok. In fact, it’s necessary.
I’ll admit. There are some vegetables at the store that I’m not sure how to tackle. Fennel used to be one of them.
Prepping and cooking fennel is easy once you get the hang of it. First, use a sharp knife and cut off the top and end parts of the bulb. Then remove the tough white outer shell of the bulb part. It will come right off. Slice away and you’re good to go.
Saute the fennel just like you would onions until slightly brown and softened. The white wine will deglaze the pan.
Add the diced tomatoes with their juices and some oregano. Let’s prep the shrimp while the sauce simmers.
This is a half pound of wild caught shrimp 16/20 count. 16/20? What does that mean? That means there is 16 to 20 pieces of shrimp per 1 pound of shrimp. It also means these are larger shrimp. The lower the count, the bigger the shrimp.
The sauce is done. Let’s make the shrimp look pretty. Sprinkle some feta, parsley, and lemon zest. Time to bake. Make sure the skillet is oven-proof before baking. Otherwise transfer to a baking dish before baking. The feta melts and becomes milder in taste. Just lots of clean flavors to let the shrimp stand out on its own.
Roasted Shrimp with Feta
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using an oven-proof 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from the heat.
Arrange the shrimp, in a single layer, over the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the feta, parsley, and lemon zest over the shrimp. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until the shrimp are cooked. Remove pan from the oven. Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.