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Green sauce gives shrimp Spanish accent

Thursday, April 03, 2003

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Today's recipe for garlicky Shrimp in Green Sauce comes from Bob Sule of Cranberry, a frequent contributor to this column.


He got the recipe from a Mark Bittman column, "The Minimalist," in The New York Times.

"The sauce is actually a paste that originated in southern Spain, where it's used with all types of white fish such as cod and sole," Bob said.

He likes it best, however, with "really big shrimp, the U15s [15 or less per pound], the big guys" that he buys in the Strip at Wholey's or Benkovitz.

We'd never heard of U15s, which sound like weapons of some sort, and bought jumbo shrimp from the supermarket (probably U22s).

The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of liquid, and Bob prefers a fish stock he makes by boiling the discarded shrimp shells with a little water and letting it sit for a few minutes.

Wine is his second choice and the one we opted for.

"I use a good vermouth in any recipe that calls for white wine," the four-time Countdown winner said. "And I never cook with wine I wouldn't drink" (i.e. cooking wine).

He picks up dried red chilies at Giant Eagle in Cranberry or at Reyna's, the Latin food store in the Strip. We couldn't find this item at our store, so we used hot pepper flakes.

As you may have guessed, Bob is the food shopper and cook in the family, a job he relishes. We're sure his wife doesn't mind either.

He recommends this dish as a first-course appetizer for a dinner party or as the main course for a weekday supper.

"My wife likes it as an entree, with the tails off. I like the tails on," he said, adding that he accompanies it with "a nice salad, good bread and a bottle of Spanish white Rioja wine."

We served it with crisp tender asparagus, seven-grain bread and an American cabernet sauvignon.

Bob has switched jobs and is now with Massaro Properties in the RIDC Industrial Park, O'Hara. Wife Suzanne has moved from Talbot's Downtown to the Sewickley store.

Last fall he went out West to get some background on a travel piece he's writing about the Lewis and Clark trek overland from Montana to Idaho.

"I walked the trail and saw the sights," he said, but, like a true gourmet, he was really intrigued by what the explorers dined on.

"They each ate about 6,000 calories every day, which is more than a football lineman takes in.

"That included 8 pounds of meat ... and corn with lard." That's a diet Atkins would approve of, except for the corn.

Shrimp with Green Sauce

  • 6 or more cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 scallions or green onions, trimmed and chopped, including the green parts
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, leaves and a few thin stems
  • 4 dried whole red chilies or a few pinches of crushed red chilie flakes
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • 1/3 cup water, chicken or fish stock, or vermouth

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Combine garlic and oil in food processor or blender until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add scallions, parsley and chilies (we used two pinches of red pepper flakes) and pulse until mixture is minced and the consistency of paste.

Toss with shrimp; add salt, pepper.

Put shrimp and paste in a large roasting pan. Add liquid (we used vermouth) and place pan in oven. Roast, stirring once, until mixture is bubbly and hot, and shrimp are pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 4 as an entree or 8 as an appetizer.

Nancy Anderson can be reached at nanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3549.

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