A February Kick — Sofrito Baked Shrimp

16 Feb

What I know about Hispanic cooking could be written on the back of a matchbook from a Tex-Mex restaurant. So nothing, really.

Canadian Living‘s recipe for Sofrito Baked Shrimp [February 2013, p. 118] struck me as a tasty, one-dish meal with some fresh flavours and different way with shrimp.

Sofrito Baked Shrimp

Sofrito Baked Shrimp

When a recipe I’ve never tried before catches my eye, I’m amazed what I can learn from a basic internet search. There are plenty of sites that offer definitions of cooking terms and different styles of cooking. I learned Sofrito is a style of cooking using a melange of peppers, onions and herbs cooked in a fair amount of oil. It is then used as the base for other ingredients in a variety of recipes.

The Canadian Living version appears fashioned to cut down on the amount of oil used, but offer a similar taste profile. I enjoyed the fresh, bright flavours, the little kick of heat of the Cubanelle pepper and the moist, rich baked shrimp.

Red onion, red pepper, Cubanelle pepper, cilantro paste, garlic.

Red onion, red pepper, Cubanelle pepper, cilantro paste, garlic.

A bed of thinly sliced and roasted potatoes should have offered some heft and crunch to the meal . . . if I had faithfully followed the directions to drain the chopped pepper/onion mixture. Don’t make my mistake and I think you’ll find this recipe could serve you well as a special tete-a-tete dinner. A follow-up to a great Valentine’s date, perhaps?

Preparing a bed of 2 red potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick

Preparing a bed of 2 red potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick

Sofrito Baked Shrimp                                           Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2                              red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into very thin (1/4″) slices
  • 1 tsp                        olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp                    salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup                  coarsely chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup                   coarsely chopped, seeded Cubanelle pepper
  • 1/2 cup                   coarsely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup                   packed fresh cilantro [or substitute 2 Tbsp cilantro paste]
  • 1 Tbsp                     fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves                  garlic
  • 1/4 tsp                    hot pepper flakes
  • 1 cup                       cherry tomatoes, quartered (and drained)
  • 8 oz (225 g)           frozen, deveined, peeled jumbo shrimp, thawed

Instructions:

1.     Grease an 8″ [2 L] square baking pan. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare potatoes, peppers and onion.

Overlap thin potato slices in bottom of  8" baking pan

Overlap thin potato slices in bottom of 8″ baking pan

2.     Toss thinly sliced potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange potato slices in a single layer, overlapping each slice a bit, to cover the bottom of the baking pan. Bake until potatoes start to brown, about 30 minutes.

Pulse peppers, onion, lime juice, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cilantro. Add quartered cherry tomatoes.

Pulse peppers, onion, lime juice, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cilantro. Add quartered cherry tomatoes.

3.     While potatoes roast, place chopped peppers (red & Cubanelle), onion, garlic, lime juice, pepper flakes and cilantro into the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Pulse 6 – 8 times until the mixture is finely chopped (or use the chop/mince button on your blender). STRAIN the mixture and then transfer it to a bowl.

Raw shrimp, peeled, deveined + pepper-tomato mix and browned potato slices

Raw shrimp, peeled, deveined + pepper-tomato mix and browned potato slices

Layer half pepper mixture on potatoes

Layer half pepper mixture on potatoes

4.     Wash, quarter and strain the cherry tomatoes and then add them to bowl of pepper mixture. Stir well to combine.

5.     When the potatoes have browned, remove from oven. Spoon half of the pepper/tomato mixture over the potatoes.

Layer shrimp

Layer shrimp

6.      Arrange thawed, shelled and deveined raw shrimp in a single layer overtop.

Voila! 15 minutes later, dinner a deux is ready.

Voila! 15 minutes later, dinner a deux is ready.

7.      Spoon and smooth the remaining pepper/tomato mixture over the shrimp.

8.      Bake in 400 F oven until the shrimp are pink, about 15 minutes.

Bubbly would be good . . . but a crisp white will do, too.

Bubbly would be good . . . but a crisp white will do, too.

I had some of the Winter Vegetable Croustade au Gratin as a side dish with the Sofrito Shrimp, largely because it needed to be eaten. It was, however, a surprisingly complementary combo.

For a special duo dinner, I think a crunchy bright green salad with a light dressing would be perfect. Some toasty garlic bread could be popped into the oven during the second baking period. As for wine . . . a bubbly is always good or a bright, clean white with a bit of fizz.

Voila! A spirited meal to pass a cold February evening. Wink . . . you may thank me later.

Bright, fresh, kicky flavours

Bright, fresh, kicky flavours

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2 Responses to “A February Kick — Sofrito Baked Shrimp”

  1. Linda Wiken February 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Looks yummy. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks, Susan.

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers February 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      I should have mentioned that if the second serving is reserved to enjoy later, reheat it at a gentle temperature to avoid rendering the shrimp tough and chewy. One could remove the shrimp and give the vegetables a quick zap in the microwave. Or reheat in baking pan, covered with foil, in a 325 F oven for a very short period.

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