Quick and simple cooking: Tarragon shrimp

Ever have one of those dishes that just brings back floods of memories? For a quick dinner the other night, I pulled some fresh tarragon from our garden and recreated a basic shrimp dish that my friend and former boss, Bob, used to make for his catering business.

I think his version was probably more elaborate than what I whipped up tonight in under 20 minutes, but it brought back memories of when was still in college and my friend Heidi would come in and help out with catering gigs where we needed an extra hand.

We would always grab a heaping plate of the tarragon shrimp when they were on the menu and stuff ourselves silly on them; and when there were leftovers, we'd carefully pack those away, too, (with Bob's permission, of course) to fill our college student refrigerators with were otherwise pretty barren.

It's still a great, quick meal, and one that leaves you licking your lips afterward. I paired this with a little jasmine rice and a nice mixed baby green and fresh mozzarella salad with a tomato from the garden (the cucumbers aren't ready yet), but it would be equally delicious with mashed potatoes and some roasted vegetables or a nice plate of angel hair pasta with garlic butter sauce.

TARRAGON SHRIMP

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 count or higher)
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and then thinly sliced
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
Directions:

Peel, devein, and butterfly shrimp (carefully cut a small slit alongside the back of the shrimp so that it can be laid flat in the pan with the tail upright, and remove the black line-the "mudline"). Pat dry lightly with a paper towel and season generously with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Pour the olive oil into a sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and sauté for about 30-45 seconds. Add the shrimp, one at a time, pressing the butterflied side briefly into the hot oil so the shrimp begins to firm and will stand upright. Once all the shrimp are in the pan and they have started to turn a salmon pink color, flip first to one side and then the other-it's okay if they get a teeny bit brown-you just want to avoid cooking them so much that they resemble O's instead of C's. After the last flip, when they are turning nicely pink, add the butter and the tarragon and shut off the heat. This whole process should take about 4-6 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp. Stir gently to melt the butter and serve over rice, potato or pasta. Drizzle with leftover butter, garlic and tarragon from the pan.

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