May 28, 2012

Skillet Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus

It was very hot here this weekend. Almost 95 degrees with high humidity; all I can say is yuck. Thanks to all the very warm weather like it does every summer my kitchen has started its fast decent into a sauna. I try to minimize the amount of time I run my oven during the middle of the day and instead rely on my stove and crockpot to do the majority of my cooking. Additionally, I try to lighten up my menu. I use less heavy sauces and thick stews and more seafood and fresh vegetables. I learned this from my mom who insisted that the foods that you eat have a direct correlation to how hot you feel. I also vividly remember being given hot coffee when the weather was sweltering to cool me down. At the time I thought it was somewhat crazy, but I realized this weekend when I was drinking my hot coffee in the middle of the day, my mother seems to be ingrained in even the little slightly strange things that we now do alike. One of the other things that my mom and I had in common was our love of shrimp. Shrimp is one of my favorite things to prepare in the summer and I was drawn to a recipe in a recent issue of Eating Well magazine for Skillet Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus, which looked light and perfect for the hot summer months ahead.
This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. As I always do with seafood I had to go to the nicer grocery store in town to purchase non-farm raised shrimp. This to me is a deal breaker. I went to school with people who worked in the fisheries dept and the studies that they worked on with mercury levels and farm raised fish and seafood are disturbing. I have two young boys that don't need to be exposed to high mercury levels. Since the major super store in my area does not agree with my ideas I always have to go to the nicer suburban chain grocery store to buy seafood. I always seem to take forever to prep shrimp, so my prep time was longer than the recipe suggested. A pound of shrimp normally takes me approximately 15-20 minutes to peel and de-vein. I have been very pleased that I am now able to buy shallots by the pound. Previously 3 ounces cost 1.99 and now a whole pound is only 3.99, that is a substantial price difference. So I am very happy for this new bulk option. As I always do I made my own chicken stock, I don't salt my stock in order that I can control the amount of sodium in my family's diet. I was very happy to find great locally grown asparagus, I prefer to buy local as much as possible. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

Both my husband and I were surprised that the gnocchi was the real winner in this recipe. Most of the time in shrimp dishes the shrimp is always the star. However, in this dish the shrimp was a little lacking in flavor, but the gnocchi was delicious. I think that the shrimp would have been better if it was seasoned more before going in with the other ingredients or even marinated before cooking. The asparagus was delicious and honestly this dish would be just as good (and a lot cheaper) if you left out the shrimp and made it vegetarian. My kids loved the recipe, so it was very family friendly.

For the recipe go to Skillet Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus.
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