Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lime shrimp over coconut rice with roasted acorn squash in chile vinaigrette

The title makes this sound much more complicated than it is. In reality it's a quick, simple, crazy tasty weeknight meal.

Rice cooked in coconut milk becomes rich and creamy, like risotto without the work. Topped with a ladle full of limey buttery garlicky shrimp, it is heavenly.

This side dish is ridiculously easy (and healthy and delicious) and just unusual enough to be really interesting. I love roasting vegetables at high temperatures like this - the sugars caramelize but the flesh doesn't overcook and become mushy. I think I'm going to serve it as a side at Thanksgiving.

1 medium acorn squash, seeds scooped out and cut into 8 wedges
1 Thai chile, minced (or whatever kind of chile you like)
1/2 a garlic clove, minced or microplaned
juice of 1 lime (the recipe calls for 3 limes total)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped (you'll need more for the shrimp so do a big handful)

1/2 a cup of white rice (I used Texmati)
1/2 a can of coconut milk
1 cup or so of low sodium chicken stock

~1-2 tbsp butter (I had some glorious local farm butter left over from the other day - oh! so good)
15-20 nice big shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bunch scallions, whites and light green portions sliced thinly
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or microplaned
zest of 1 lime, then the juice of 2 limes (it's hard to zest a lime that's already juiced, so do it whole first)
few tablespoons of cilantro, chopped

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the coconut milk and half a cup or so of chicken stock in a small pot and bring to simmer. Stir in the rice, cover, and attend often while you get everything else together - the coconut milk can make it kind of sticky. Sample it often once it starts looking done, adding more chicken stock little bit by bit and re-covering the pot until it's cooked through. Because the rice isn't drained at the end, you need to make sure you don't add too much liquid or it'll become a mushy mess.

Toss your acorn squash wedges with a splash of olive oil, a good pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet, cut side down, pop it into the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. Go check on your rice and prep your shrimp. After 10 minutes, turn all of the wedges over onto the other cut side, and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes.

In a large prep bowl, whisk together the chile, garlic, lime, olive oil, and cilantro. Set aside. When your squash is ready, use tongs to transfer them into the vinaigrette and toss well to combine.

When your rice is just about done, melt the butter in a deep saute pan over medium heat. After the foam subsides, add your shrimp and season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the pinkness starts to creep up the sides of the shrimp, flip them over and then add all the rest of the ingredients: scallions, garlic, lime zest and lime juice. Crank the heat and toss the shrimp in their glorious bubbly bathwater until cooked through (3 or 4 minutes). Serve atop a mound of coconut rice next to your gorgeous squash wedges.

Serves two, takes about half an hour.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing, I loved this dish. The squash was perfect and super tasty.