For those fasting during Great Lent, shrimp are a great option for protein and contain calcium, iodine, and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids important for brain and immune system health. Shellfish are allowed on most days during the fast and shrimp are often the most affordable and readily available in local markets. Choose wild American shrimp, large or jumbo size for the recipe that follows. Peeled, deveined shrimp can be purchased for a shortcut. With just 60 calories for a 3-ounce serving, they are also relatively low in calories.
Shrimp are a versatile ingredient, whether enjoyed simply with cocktail sauce as an appetizer or served with rice as a main course, shrimp are a quick-cooking weeknight meal option. Recipes for rice and shrimp are common in various cultural cuisines across the globe. Adding different spices can easily change the flavor profile of the dish. For an Asian twist, add fresh grated ginger. For a spicier version, add red pepper flakes to the sauce to taste, or stir in a pinch of saffron to the white rice as it boils. Shrimp also go well with bulgur or pasta, if preferred. Try whole grain varieties of pasta for a healthier option.
Shrimp and Asparagus with Rice
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if preferred
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 bunches fresh asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Trim the ends of the asparagus and add the chopped asparagus pieces to the saucepan, reserving the asparagus tips to add at the end since they cook quickly. Add the garlic, tomatoes, the bay leaf, salt, and pepper to taste and continue cooking over medium heat until the asparagus pieces are slightly tender and the tomatoes have cooked down a bit. Stir in the white wine and the shrimp. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through and the alcohol has cooked off. Stir in the asparagus tips and cover the saucepan to allow the asparagus tips to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, just until they change to a bright green color, or to desired tenderness. Serve warm over cooked rice, bulgur, or pasta.
To cook the rice, bring 3 and 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, add 1 and 1/2 cups white rice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow the rice to absorb the water. To cook brown rice, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups brown rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the brown rice absorbs the water.