Spicy Citrus Shrimp and Spinach
I don’t use a lot of citrus in the kitchen, though I have been eating clementines nearly every day this winter. I don’t actually use a lot of fruit in my cooking at all. Fruit is sweet and therefore my savory-loving self has a hard time intuitively understanding how it fits into dinner. But when I saw this recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Citrus-Sambal-Oelek dressing in April’s Food & Wine, I was intrigued. The idea of something bright and spicy is very appealing this time of year, when summer taunts at every turn. What I ended up with was slightly different from the original recipe, based on what I had in the kitchen, but holy moly, it was so good I think I’m going to try introducing citrus to my pots and pans more often.
I ended up using harissa instead of sambal oelek, and the juice from a blood orange and half a lemon, because it’s what I had (and I was so excited to have finally found the blood oranges at the supermarket, I may have overdone it and bought too many). And I didn’t grill the shrimp, because that is too time consuming for Monday night. I sauteed the shrimp, then stirred in some rice and baby spinach at the end. I wish I’d made extra so I could have it for lunch, but alas, this dinner only served one.
I also tried a new rice blend, Trader Joe’s Basmati Rice Medley. It’s different from my usual grains, and contains not only basmati rice and wild rice, but some dehydrated vegetable bits as well. It was tasty enough, and the little flecks of color were fun, but I’m not completely sure I’d buy this again. It sure did cook faster than my usual brown and wild rice, though. Whatever rice you use will probably taste just fine, and if you want to add a little flavor to the rice before mixing it with the shrimp, I’d recommend a pinch of turmeric or some cumin in with the cooking water.
Spicy Citrus Shrimp and Spinach
Adapted from Food & Wine
- 1/3 cup rice, uncooked
- 2/3 cup water or vegetable broth
- juice from 1 blood orange
- juice from half a juicy lemon
- 1 teaspoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
- about 10 medium shrimp, tails removed
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
Prepare the rice according to the package directions. While the rice simmers, make the shrimp marinade: Whisk together the orange and lemon juice, harissa, oregano, and salt, then whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified and there is enough liquid in the bowl to submerge the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the marinade and set aside.
When the rice is about five minutes from being done, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, use tongs or a fork to pull the shrimp out of the marinade and add to the skillet. You want some of the marinade to stay on the shrimp to create a little bit of a sauce in the pan, but you don’t want to add all of the marinade.
Cook the shrimp for about two or three minutes, then slip them over and cook for another three minutes or so, or until they’re cooked through. The rice should be about done, so remove it from the heat and add it to the same skillet with the shrimp. Stir in the fresh spinach and stir until everything is warm through and mixed up and the spinach begins to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and you’re set.
This couldn’t be faster or easier, and kind of took me by surprise with flavor. The balance of spice was just right, too. Yup, it’s going in the to-repeat file. And you’ll probably feel the same way.