We decided to go all out when we were cooking for our date night last weekend and have both an appetizer and an entrée. Our vanilla scallops were such a success that we were sure our shrimp and quinoa couldn’t compete. We were wrong. While not as different as the scallops, it was still as elegant and delicious as any restaurant meal we have had, and we didn’t have to pay restaurant prices or deal with weekend crowds.
Citrus abounds in the stores these days, so I decided to use both a lemon and a tangerine in the shrimp and the quinoa. I was going to make rice, but we eat a lot of rice and I had some quinoa on hand that I had bought and never used. Since we were already in an adventurous mood with the scallops, I decided to continue the theme and try the quinoa.
Everything came together smoothly, with only a few glitches due to making up a recipe as I was cooking it. I should have prepped the citrus before I started cooking the garlic, but I managed to save it before it got too brown. As long as you follow the directions, you won’t be scrambling like I was. Learn from my experience, young grasshopper.
The quinoa turned out nice and fluffy, with the citrus tartness complementing its inherent nuttiness. The shrimp was fabulous with just a touch of garlic, white wine and sweet tart citrus. Not a bad combination to brighten a dark, cold February evening.
Citrus Shrimp and Quinoa
From The Cook’s Life
Serves 2, easy to double
1 large lemon
1 tangerine or small orange
1½ cups water, approximately
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa
8 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2-4 tablespoons white wine, optional
Zest the lemon and tangerine, using only the colored portion of the peel and not the bitter white parts. If you don’t have a zester, use the finest side of a box grater. Set the zest aside. Cut the lemon in half and juice half of it into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Cut the other lemon half into wedges and set aside. Juice the tangerine into the same measuring cup. Add water until you have 2 cups of liquid. Set aside. Mince the garlic and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add half the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the juice and water mixture and bring liquid to a boil. Add quinoa, half of the reserved zest, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the shrimp and the remaining garlic. Cook shrimp 2-4 minutes before turning over. Add a splash of white wine to the pan, if desired, and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Squeeze half of the reserved lemon wedges over the shrimp, reserving the rest for serving. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt, pepper and the remaining citrus zest.
Serve shrimp over the quinoa, with lemon wedges on the side.