Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Spring Spinach Frittata with Ricotta

Spring spinach frittata with ricotta and recipe

Are you a sweet or savory breakfast person? If you are like me, someone who finds it difficult to choose between the two, frittatas are a wonderful choice and a healthy(ish) alternative to quiche. Because frittatas lack an all butter pastry crust, heavy cream and extra cheese, they are not as rich as quiche, Plus they are much easier to make. What this means is, you can serve up a savory frittata as a main course and include all the pastries or coffee cake you crave. Sweet and savory satisfaction without the guilt, (kind-of). I created this spinach frittata with the dual purpose of making something elegant and savory to serve for breakfast or brunch that also leaves room for something sweet, like The Best Damn Lemon Cake or Apple Muffin with Lemon Glaze.

Ricotta and Spinach Frittata and recipe.

Spinach Frittata Inspiration

My spinach frittata recipe combines two ideas from my favorite egg dishes. The first idea is from Deborah Madison’s  cookbook, In My Kitchen.  She adds saffron to her Swiss Chard Flan recipe, giving the custard an exotic floral nuance that I love. Saffron compliments custards and leafy green vegetables nicely, so I decided to use it instead of freshly grated nutmeg for some extra elegance in the frittata. I love saffron and don’t mind spending the extra money to buy it. However, if you rather not use saffron, add some freshly grated nutmeg directly into the egg mixture. Fresh basil or mint provides a brighter and fresher tasting substitution for saffron, and it pairs very nicely with the spinach frittata.

The second idea is the addition of fresh ricotta, whipped smooth and spooned on top of the spinach frittata. The first time I tasted a ricotta topped frittata is when I made Joshua McFadden’s Red Pepper, Potato, Prosciutto Frittata with Ricotta from his cookbook, Six Seasons. The ricotta transformed an ordinary western omelet into a very special occasion. The ricotta gets soft and warm baked with the frittata and you want every bite filled with this light creaminess. I totally got hooked on ricotta topped frittatas and now want to add ricotta cheese to just about everything.

It pays to buy the freshly made ricotta cheese, there is a big difference in taste. Usually you can find good quality ricotta near the deli department at your grocery. Or make a small batch of ricotta cheese. It takes a lot less time than you think and tastes like real milk.

Julienne Leeks

Making a frittata is fairly straight forward and quick. The only challenging part in this recipe is to julienne the leeks. For a change I decided to julienne slice the white and light green parts of the leek instead of cutting them into circles or half-moons.  It doesn’t really matter how they are prepared as long as they are thoroughly cleaned and cooked till soft and translucent. The julienned leek disappears into the spinach and eggs but adds lovely sweet onion background flavor.

To julienne the leeks, cut the leek in half lengthwise then clean between the layers. Then cut across the leek dividing it into chunks the size of your desired length, mine where about an inch and a half (3.5 cm). Then slice the portioned leeks, lengthwise in very thin strips, mine were about 1/16-1/8 of an inch (about 2-3 mm).  Because you won’t see the leeks you do not have to worry about being precise like you would for julienned carrots in a vegetable sauté, so don’t fret about it.

Check out this video for a live example of how to julienne leeks. In this video he discards the root end of the leek. I do not discard it and julienne cut the root as best I can.

Spinach Frittata

Coming up with a name for this spinach frittata was challenging. With all the special ingredients, it could easily have a name that takes longer to say then it does to cook. Yet the mood of this frittata is all about spring and representing new life and the warming of the earth and air. Fresh farm eggs give the vegetables its foundation with a salty bite of Romano cheese. Young spring spinach and leeks provide a sense of newness to the frittata which in turn is gets grounded from the floral but earthy notes from the stamens of spring crocuses, otherwise known as saffron. Warm, creamy fresh ricotta tie all the flavors together for a sunny “Good morning” greeting. All that goodness is invigorating but not filling leaving plenty of room for pastries or dessert.

Frittatas are delicious for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light supper. For a spectacular Mother’s Day brunch (or any brunch), serve the spinach frittata with your favorite sides like sausage, bacon, green salad, fruit salad and your favorite pastries.

Ricotta Spinach Frittata with recipe.

Ricotta Spinach Frittata

An elegant frittata recipe for the times when you want a special breakfast or brunch that is also easy to make. It is a lighter and healthier substitute for quiche.  

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Light Supper, Lunch, Vegetarian
Cuisine Italian American
Keyword Frittata, Spinach Frittata
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch of saffron 1 TB boiling water
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup 24 g finely grated real Romano cheese
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1 leek about 6 oz (187 g) Pale green and white parts only
  • 5 oz 142 g spinach cleaned, and stems removed
  • ½ cup 117 g real ricotta cheese

Instructions

Prepare your ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6 and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.

  2. Place a pinch of saffron in a small bowl and add 1 TB of just shy of boiling water to the saffron. Set aside and let the saffron steep.

  3. In a medium size bowl, mix the eggs together with a fork until there are no egg whites visible in the mix. Add the Romano cheese and mix again until combined. Set aside.

  4. Thoroughly clean and julienne slice the white and pale green parts of the leek, about an inch and a half in length and about 1/16 of an inch wide. See blog post for a video demonstration. 

  5. In a small bowl, whip the ricotta with a pinch of Kosher salt and a few grounds of black pepper until smooth. A fork works nicely for this job. Set aside. 

  6. Place an 8-inch (20cm) skillet, preferably a non-stick skillet with an oven-proof handle, on a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Pour in the olive oil and heat up. Add the sliced leeks and turn down the heat to medium then sauté until soft, but not browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add the prepared spinach, in batches, and cook down until completely wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. 

  7. Meanwhile, pour the saffron and water to the eggs, making sure you get every last drop and all saffron threads, and whisk together with a fork.

Make the Frittata

  1. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the spinach and leeks. Tilt the pan to make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed across the whole skillet. Turn the heat to medium and let the eggs cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes.

  2. Run a thin rubber spatula around the edge of the frittata to loosen the eggs. Pull the eggs toward the center with the spatula creating pockets for uncooked runny eggs to fill up. Repeat this step going around the circumference of the frittata. Continue to gently cook the frittata until there is a thin liquid layer on top of the frittata. 

  3. Drop spoonfuls of whipped ricotta cheese around the frittata, about 6-8 spoonfuls. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until it is solid all the way through, about 6 minutes. You may need to place the frittata under the broiler to brown the top. It is not necessary, only if you want browning on the top. If you do, watch the frittata carefully because it should only take a few minutes.  

  4. Remove from the oven and run the frittata around the edge of the skillet, then slide the frittata  on to a serving plate. 

  5. Frittata is best eaten warm the same day it is made. 

< div style =”display:none;”>Ricotta Spinach Frittata. Spring spinach frittata recipe with leeks, saffron and ricotta. An elegant frittata recipe and a great healthy substitute for quiche. Perfect for any meal of the day.,

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pita Chips

Appetizers, Recent Posts | January 31, 2017 | By

Who: Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots.

What: Super Bowl LI.

Where: Houston TX and televised on FOX Network.

When: Sunday Feb. 5th 2017, 6:30pm EST.

Halftime show: The ever so talented Lady Gaga.

All those questions are answered, but the most important question remains, what are we going to eat?

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

Whether you are staying at home or going out to friends, this central food question is on everyone’s mind. The Super Bowl is a food grazing phenomenon with established traditions that has grown in popularity for the past 51 years.  Like Thanksgiving, certain foods are a must have. My friend Alan believes the Super Bowl is not the Super Bowl unless wings are served. I also believe dips fall into the must have category and Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is the perfect stand-in.
Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

It is hard to believe that Spinach Artichoke Dip needs any improvements. Still, as the saying goes, “Everything tastes better with pork,” totally applies to Spinach Artichoke Dip. Adding bacon to this traditional dip turns an “Oh yum,” into, “Wow. What is this? It is incredible.”  Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is a powerhouse dip. It is familiar and new at the same time, and well worth the extra time it takes to cook the bacon.

This recipe is an oldie of mine. Well “oldie” is a relative term and I can’t believe that I am considering 2005 in the oldie category. Yet, some foods and food trends have a short lifespan. Additionally, I am one to frequently change around my food ideas for any party. Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is not a passing trend, but there when you need an appetizer on the quick. This recipe stands the honored test of time and continues to be a reliable recipe for a crudité platter, or chips and dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

I got this recipe from a Food Network series, Party Line with the Hearty Boys. I enjoyed the show and was sad that it did not last very long. The hosts Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh came across as fun easy-going guys and with a collection of delicious and reliable recipes. The only changes I made to this recipe, was to mix in some yogurt with the sour cream to lighten it up.

Tips for making Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon

Use any combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt. The original recipe used 100% sour cream. You can also try crème fraiche. This is a thick dip, so regular yogurt will not work as well as Greek yogurt does. I also believe the full fat versions of both ingredients taste a lot better than the low-fat versions.

Cooking the shallots and garlic makes a big difference in this recipe. Raw garlic and onions can overwhelm the dip, and they do not age well. Also, cooking the shallots and garlic extends the lifespan of a dip from 24 hrs to a couple of days.

This can be served cold, but I think it is easier to dip chips, and tastes better when it is closer to room temperature.

If you have non-pork eaters, portion out some of the dip before you add the bacon so all your guests can enjoy this dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pita Chips

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and crispy pita chips is a recipe I have served many times. It is a family favorite and a great choice for any gathering of family and friends. Adding crispy bacon and lemon zest to this traditional dip recipe makes it stand out appetizer. This recipe is slightly adapted from Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, Party Line with the Hearty Boys as seen on Food Network, 2005.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Ginger

Ingredients

For the Dip

  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 10- oz package frozen chopped spinach thawed
  • 2 cups sour cream or 50/50 combo of sour cream and Greek yogurt
  • 1 6- oz jar marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped
  • 10 bacon strips cooked up very crisp, crumbled
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Pita Chips

  • 1 Tb kosher salt
  • 1 Tb dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 12 tsp ground black pepper
  • 14 tsp celery salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 pitas cut into 12 wedges each

Instructions

For the Dip

  1. Heat up the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Once warm add the minced shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook the vegetables and stir frequently until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Put the thawed spinach on a double layer of cheesecloth*. Bring the ends together and twist
  3. forming a tight ball. Squeeze all the excess water from the spinach. Place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients to the bowl with the spinach and carefully mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Allow the dip to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you are not going to serve it right away, store the dip covered in the refrigerator.
  4. Spoon the dip into a serving bowl and serve with the crispy pita chips.

For the Crispy Pita Chips

  1. Arrange an oven rack to be in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
  2. In a small bowl mix the Kosher salt, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper, and celery salt until evenly combined. Add the pita triangles into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixed herbs and spices over the pita wedges. Using clean hands, toss the pita wedges and spice mix until it is thoroughly mixed together. Drizzle the oil over the pitas and mix thoroughly until the pita chips are evenly coated with oil and spice mix . Arrange the spiced pita triangles on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the pita chips are crispy and lightly browned. Let the pita chips cool for 10 minutes before you arrange them for serving.
  3. Serve with the spinach artichoke and bacon dip.

Recipe Notes

* If you do not have cheesecloth, you can use a fine mesh strainer and push the water out of the spinach using the back of a large spoon. If you have a clean flour sack kitchen towel, it will work just as well as cheesecloth.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint, recipe.

Gluten-Free, Recent Posts, Soup, Vegan | January 12, 2017 | By

Broccoli. Spinach. Fresh herbs. These three ingredients are all that is needed to develop a nutritious and velvety smooth soup. No fat. No diary. Just vegetables and fresh herbs. It doesn’t get any purer and simpler than this. What I am talking about, is broccoli soup with spinach and mint. This broccoli soup recipe is deliciously satisfying, and so wonderfully smooth you won’t believe there is no added cream. Broccoli soup with spinach and mint is also the easiest soup that I have ever made.

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint, recipe.

 

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint

 

This recipe is from the cookbook, Fresh Happy Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes by Jane Coxwell. I love this cookbook. The recipes are inventive, not complicated to make, and Jane likes to enhance the flavor of her food with a lot of fresh herbs. Jane Coxwell is the personal chef to Diane von Furstenberg aboard her sailing yacht. She gets to sail around the world, shop at international seaport markets, and cook delicious food for Diane von Furstenberg and the boat’s crew. The photographs of the food and markets are sunny with vibrant colors, and Jane always has a laughing smile on her face.

 

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint

If you have never made soup before and want to try, this is the soup recipe for you. Most soups begin with a base sometimes called mirepoix or sofrito. They usually consist of celery, carrots and onions that are sautéed until softened.  Mirepoix is the bodybuilder for stews, soups and some regional foods.  However, this broccoli soup does not have it or need it. Broccoli is the base, spinach mellows the broccoli and contributes to the smooth texture, and the fresh herbs add interest. All the ingredients contribute to the soups bright and pure flavor. If you love broccoli and spinach, then you will love this soup.

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint, recipe.

Keys to Success Making Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint

The number one key to success is all about the blending. You will need special equipment to make broccoli soup with spinach and mint. The original recipe specifies using a blender, but I do not own one. I have made this recipe at different times using a food processor or an immersion blender. Both appliances worked with excellent results. My advice is to be patient, and keep at it. The whole blending process will take time. Just when you think you are done blending, blend some more. Later when you think you are done, blend some more. As you continue to whirl, the soup will become thicker, velvety smooth and develops an amazing bright green color. I have never been to Ireland, but I imagine the soup is the color of Ireland’s grassy emerald fields.

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint, recipe.

Another key to success comes from the secondary ingredient, the spinach. I believe the raw spinach, along with the blending, is responsible for creating the luxurious texture. Broccoli alone will not blend so smoothly because of its own texture. Understand that if you substitute the spinach with other leafy green vegetables like chard, it might taste great, but omitting the spinach will create a completely different soup.

This is a minor suggestion: I cut off the stems of the raw spinach before it is added the blender or food processor. Sometimes, even baby spinach leaves can have stringy stems.

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint, recipe.

What to serve with Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint:

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint pairs beautifully with goat cheese and olives. If you are lucky enough to have access to a delicious olive rosemary bread, toast it and spread it with creamy goat cheese.

Or, make croutons with the olive rosemary bread and garnish the soup with the croutons and a drizzle of yogurt or crème fraîche.

Additionally, any open face melty cheese sandwich made with crusty bread is yummy with soup.

We like to serve broccoli soup with spinach and mint for dinner smorgasbord style. Accompanied with grilled herb marinated chicken breasts, marinated artichokes, olives, goat cheese, and toasted bread. Joe refers to this type of meal as, “Soup and Stuff” and is one of his favorite dinners.

Anything salty, crunchy, tangy, creamy is divine served with broccoli soup with spinach and mint. Enjoy!

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint

Broccoli Soup with Spinach and Mint is a healthy, delicious soup that is velvety smooth. The fresh herbs and the luxurious texture make this soup special. This soup is super healthy for you with no added fat. A cinch to make. You can change the herb combinations to suit your taste, but always use fresh herbs. Watch the quantities of each herb so they do not overpower the taste of the broccoli and spinach. Other fresh herb pairings are: mint and tarragon, cilantro and mint, parsley and mint, Fines herbs which is a classic blend of tarragon, chervil, and chives. Special equipment is required to achieve this velvety smooth texture. A blender is the best choice to get the velvety texture, but a food processor, or immersion blender will work as well. Recipe is from Fresh, Happy, Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes by Jane Coxwell
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4 12 oz servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled sliced in half and green germ removed
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small handful mint leaves
  • 1 small handful basil leaves
  • Flakey Sea Salt such as Maldon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Honey or agave to taste optional

Instructions

  1. Fill a saucepan large enough to accommodate all the prepared broccoli with water add about 1/2 tea of Kosher salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Cut the broccoli heads by separating the florets and the stems. Trim the florets into small pieces. Set aside. Then cut the rough and thick end off each broccoli stem and discard, Chop the remaining stems into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. When the water comes to boil add the garlic halves and the chopped broccoli stems. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli florets and cook until the florets are tender, but still bright green. About 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the broccoli and put into a bowl of a blender or food processor. (*If you are using an immersion blender you will need to do some juggling. Once you have removed the broccoli, pour the broccoli water into a container and reserve. Put the broccoli back into the stock pot that you cooked them in.)
  5. Measure 2 cups of the broccoli water and place in the blender (or pot) with the broccoli. Reserve the remaining broccoli water.
  6. Blend the broccoli until it is smooth. Add the spinach, mint and basil and continue to blend until very smooth. If you think you are done blending, blend some more. One of the outstanding features of the soup is getting the soup to have a luxurious and smooth texture. The blending step is what will set this soup apart from any other broccoli soup. It will take awhile to accomplish, even longer depending on what equipment you are using. The blending should take at least 5 minutes but possibly longer.
  7. If using a food processor or blender, pour the vegetable puree into a clean pot. Turn on the heat to medium and add broccoli water, a little at a time, into the stock pot with the vegetable puree. Keep adding until you reached your desired consistency. Taste the soup and season with the lemon juice, about 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. (Be careful with the amount of lemon juice you add. The acid reacts with the green vegetables and changes the color from bright to drab.) Sweeten with about 1 teaspoon of honey or agave if needed. (optional) Taste and correct for seasoning.
  8. Serve warm for lunch or dinner. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The color might change after a day or more in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

The amounts of the ingredients are somewhat open to interpretation. Every head of broccoli is not the same size, as well as every handful is not the same. But one of the great characteristics about making soup is you can play around with the amount of ingredients without totally messing it up. The key ingredients are the broccoli and spinach. To give you some guideline, the two heads of broccoli weighed a total of 1 lb 8 1/2 oz / 697 g and the total amount of spinach weighed 2 1/8 oz / 61 g.

I once bought a head of broccoli at the farmers market that was so big, it could have been the equivalent of two or three heads of broccoli. Use your judgement and let your eyes and tastebuds be your guide.

You can add around 3 -4 sprigs, or less, of each fresh herb to your liking.

Broccoli Soup with spinach and mint. A healthy soup recipe with broccoli, spinach, basil and mint.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp and Spinach

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

I could serve shrimp every night and my sons would never get tired of it. Mention “Shrimp for dinner,” and their eyes would light up and they would go into their happy dance. That happy dance  is just as adorable at 26 years old as it is at 3 years. Their expressions of joy and love could turn on me instantly with expression of “H o w  D a r e  Y o u,” if the shrimp portions were unequal. We may have started our dinner giving thanks and praying for world peace, but I could see their intense gaze upon each person’s plate scanning and counting the shrimp to make sure they were not cut short. God forbid someone in the family received one more shrimp than anyone else. If looks could kill, the scowl-glare of, “MORE SHRIMP” would do the job instantly. We may not be able to solve world peace, but at least we work very hard to keep the peace at home.

 

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

Shrimp and Spinach

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

Looking though my recipe collection I realized that I have a large number of shrimp recipes. Most of them I have not used because having shrimp on the menu is usually a spontaneous decision, dependent on price and something I can quickly make with vegetables and pasta. (My kids favorite.) I did come across one recipe in my collection, Stir-Fried Sesame Shrimp and Spinach by Martha Rose Shulman at NY Times Cooking, that nudged me to remember a homework assignment I completed for an online class, The Science of Gastronomy at Coursera.org Two science professors from the University of Hong Kong taught the course and focused the learning objectives on how cooking techniques are based on science, and how to use this science to make you a better cook.

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp and Spinach is a healthy, easy dinner developing moist and crunchy shrimp. It is a simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

In Ms. Shulman’s recipe she uses a Chinese technique to clean shrimp with salt and water. Flash several years back in time, my homework assignment for The Science of Gastronomy, tested the effects of soaking, (brining) shrimp in salt and water to see if there was any effect on taste and the mouth-feel of cooked shrimp. Reading this recipe was bringing it all back to me.  I have the best intentions to remember everything that I have ever learned, but usually I need a clue and a bonk on the head to stir the memory bank. I just had to test this out again.

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

Ingredients for Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach

In summary, if you want to make shrimp talk add salt while you are cleaning the shrimp and they will become squeaky. The brining technique produces crunchy-squeaky-tender morsels of shrimp that squirt in your mouth. My homework assignment had us soaking shrimp in salt water, plain water and the control shrimp was left alone. The shrimp in the salt water definitely was more crunchy than the other shrimp samples. Soaking the shrimp in plain water left them mushy. As I understand it, the shrimp cells absorb the water and cause the cell tissue to collapse, giving you a mushy mouth-feel. Salt will draw the moisture out of the shrimp cells, but keeps the moisture absorbed in its own cells. The heat from cooking causes the salt to release the moisture out of its cells and back into the shrimp, making it tender, crunchy and squeaky.

This is the same concept of pre-salting food in the Zuni Cookbook, as featured in my recipe, Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken.

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe instructed you to rinse the shrimp with water then toss the shrimp with salt, then rinse again and repeat. I found this method to be more effective at producing crispy shrimp than the soaking method of my homework assignment.

She also instructs you to use a “generous” amount of salt for the brining. I do not know exactly what a generous amount means, and I am cautious about adding too much salt to my food. My idea of generous may be different from her idea of generous, and different from your idea of generous.  In the interest of keeping the salt to a minimum, I measured 1 slightly rounded teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound of shrimp for the brine. If you wish you can use my recipe as a guide, and carefully adjust the amount of Kosher salt you use to brine the shrimp to suit your tastes.  The teaspoon of Kosher salt was my idea of generous and I was happy with my crispy, not salty, shrimp.

Crispy sauteed sesame shrimp with spinach. A quick and easy dinner cone in 15 minutes.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach

Don’t throw out the shrimp shells. They make a simple shrimp stock that can be used in any recipe that calls for fish stock or clam juice. (See notes in recipe for instructions.)

I made very slight changes to the recipe because I do not own a wok. I used a sauté pan, deglazed the pan with wine, and added preserved lemon. Both additions are optional and if you are using a wok you won’t need to deglaze the pan. On one occasion, I substituted the spinach with white chard – stems and all, and was equally delighted with the results.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy recipe, creating a delicious and healthy dinner in 15 minutes.  No matter what variation you use, spinach or chard, wok or sauté, there is a generous amount of shrimp with each serving to satisfy all the shrimp lovers in your home. Bring on that happy dance.

Sauteed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy and healthy meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes. Cleaning the shrimp with salt and water produces tender, moist and crunchy shrimp. A simple meal that all shrimp lovers will enjoy.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with White Chard

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp and Spinach

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is an easy dinner that creates moist and crispy shrimp. This recipes features brining the shrimp in salt and water to produce succulent, crispy and squeaky shrimp. Use this brining technique whenever you want to stir-fry or sauté shrimp. This recipe is very slightly adapted from Martha Rose Shulman recipe Stir-fry Sesame Shrimp with Spinach from New York Times Cooking
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 3 -4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb large shrimp
  • About 2 tea Kosher salt divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 Tbs canola oil or light sesame oil
  • 1/8 tea sugar
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tea dried red chili flakes
  • 2 Tbs sesame seeds toasted
  • 1 lb cleaned fresh spinach stems trimmed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or water, or stock (optional)
  • About 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon diced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the peeled shrimp in a colander and rinse with water. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoon of Kosher salt all over the shrimp and carefully toss the shrimp for one minute. After a minute, rinse the shrimp with water. Repeat the whole process one more time.
  2. Combine about 1/4 teaspoon of salt with the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan, large enough to accommodate 1 lb of spinach, to very hot but just shy of smoking. Add 2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl the oil around to cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and chili flakes to the pan and very briefly sauté. Stir the ingredients around so that they do not burn.
  5. Add the shrimp and spread evenly across the pan in one layer. Let the shrimp cook undisturbed for about 1 minute. After one minute, stir the shrimp around and sauté for one minute more.
  6. Add the sesame seeds and spinach and carefully stir to evenly cook the spinach for about a minute. Add the sugar/salt mixture and just shy of a 1/4 cup of dry white wine, (if using). Stir the spinach and scrape off any brown goodies stuck the bottom of the pan.
  7. Continue to cook until the spinach is wilted, and the shrimp is just cooked through and pink. About 2 more minutes.
  8. Add the preserved lemon, if using, then drizzle the dark sesame oil over the whole dish. Toss and serve with your favorite grain like rice or couscous.

Recipe Notes

I made this dish with chard and enjoyed it just as well. If you decide to use chard instead of spinach, remove the shrimp from the pan after the first 2 minutes of cooking, and set aside on a plate. The chard will take longer to cook, especially if you are using the stems. When the chard is cooked through, add the shrimp back in the pan and continue to cook until the shrimp is just cooked through.

 

How to make Shrimp Stock Add the shells from 1 lb of shrimp to a medium sauce pan and gently sauté on medium high heat. Once the shells have turned pinkish and no longer translucent, add water into the saucepan to cover the shrimp shells about 2 inches. Add some aromatics to the shrimp and water, such as celery, parsley and a bay leaf, then cook the stock at a simmer for about one hour. Drain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and dispose of the shrimp shells and aromatics. Cool the shrimp stock and refrigerate and use within a couple of days or freeze the stock. The stock should keep well in the freezer for 3 months. Makes about 3 cups of stock.

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