Seasonal Transition: Shrimp with Yellow Tomato Confit and Quinoa

Do you see those leaves falling off the trees like I do? Oh my, has fall suddenly taken over. The air is crisper, the foliage is sporting beautiful shades of red and orange, and cravings are changing. Although I hate to say goodbye to cherries and fresh peaches, there is nothing like autumn apples and baked pears. Comfort food becomes more important as we transition into the winter, but I never want to sacrifice my health for copious amounts of feel good eats. (Fine, the gooey butter cake was a huge exception)

So I turn to my favorite cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Luques, for a great recipe for just this time of year. Suzanne Goin’s original recipe is for spot prawns, but I think shrimp work just as well. I chose quinoa because I love its texture and how it takes on the flavor of the tomato sauce, but you can substitute other grains like rice or even pastas like orzo or spaghetti. Enjoy!

Shrimp with Tomato Confit and Quinoa 

[Only slightly adapted from Sunday Suppers at Luques, Quinoa is my addition]

  • One cup of quinoa, cooked according to package instruction
  • 1-2 lbs of shrimp with shells (depends on how many you are serving)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons basil, sliced
  • 1 lemon, for juicing

Yellow Tomato Confit

  •     1/2 cup sliced red onion
  •     1 jalapeño, chopped
  •     1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  •     1 teaspoon dried oregano
  •     1/4 cup basil, chopped
  •     1 1/2 pounds yellow tomatoes (around 4)
  •     1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Use kitchen scissors to cut the shells of the shrimp down their backs, from the base of their heads to the top of their tails. (Don’t remove the shells.) If the shrimp are wet, dry them with paper towels.
  2. For the Yellow Tomato Confit, preheat to oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Scatter the red onion, jalapeño, garlic, oregano and basil in a baking dish. Core the yellow tomatoes and place them, stem side down, on top of the onions. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, and pour the olive oil and 1 cup water over the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes in the oven about 50 minutes, until they soften and blister. Remove the pan from the oven, and let cool 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process at the lowest speed until the tomatoes are pureed. Transfer to a container. Seasons with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  3.   Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl 2 tablespoons olive oil into each pan, and carefully place the shrimp in the pans, on their sides. (You may need to cook the shrimp in batches to avoid overcrowding them.) Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Pour another 2 tablespoons oil into each pan, and cook about 5 minutes, until the shells get some color and the flesh begins to turn opaque on the first side.
  4. Turn the shrimp over, drizzle another 2 tablespoons oil into each pan, and season the second side with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the shrimp are just cooked.
  5. Remove the shrimp to a platter, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes, until they become translucent, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the flavorful shrimp bits. Add the garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots and garlic are soft and just starting to color. Turn the heat back to high, and add half of the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Taste for seasoning, and cook a minutes, stirring often.
  6. Toss the quinoa with the parsley and basil. Place the quinoa on a giant plate. Cover the quinoa with the yellow tomato confit and the shrimp on top. Peel the shrimp if you prefer. Serve with lemon for juicing.
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