I stumbled upon this recipe and knew it would be good before I’d even tasted it. I’m not sure how I knew that arugula, a fennel bulb and lemon vinaigrette topped with spicy shrimp would be perfect together, (since I’d never even tasted a fennel bulb before) but it was a good hunch. Now it’s my newest pet ingredient – love, love, love it! And it must be true since I said it three times, right?
Initially, I used big expensive prawns and they were fabulous. We loved the dish and the recipe got filed in my special book full of “food finds”. Last night I prepared it again for a friend, but this time I used regular shrimp (from the freezer) and it was still incredibly delicious. We ate on the patio and enjoyed a nice glass of wine while we savored a Montana summer evening.
This is just a great recipe. I’ve made it with and without the Ouzo in the marinade and while it definitely adds something, it is also fine without it, so don’t stress if you don’t have it. The original recipe calls for Santa Barbara spot prawns with the head on – like I’m ever going to even see one of those.
Grilled Shrimp with Fennel and Arugula
adapted from Grilled Spot Prawns – The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
- 1 to 2 pounds shrimp
- 6 Tbsp EVO oil divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ to 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp Pernod or Ouzo (good, but optional)
- 2 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds, divided
- 1 fennel bulb very thinly sliced crosswise (I use a mandoline)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups lightly packed arugula
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Heat 3 Tbsp EVO oil over medium. Add red pepper and garlic and sizzle until you just smell the garlic. Pour into a bowl, add the Ouzo (if using) and a generous pinch of the chopped fennel fronds. Season well with kosher salt and black pepper then add shrimp and stir gently to coat. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature for about half an hour, tossing occasionally.
Heat the grill to fairly high heat. Grill the shrimp or prawns for a few minutes on each side until they’re pink. Transfer to a plate. Mix the sliced fennel and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle 3 Tbsp lemon juice and 3 Tbsp EVO oil over all. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
Arrange the greens on a large platter and top with the shrimp. Garnish with the remaining chopped fennel fronds. I added a few sliced orange tomatoes from our garden – yum!
Serve with a chewy bread and a glass of wine . . . now how easy is that?