Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shrimp Florentine - something special for Mother's Day

Florentine is a classic French recipe. Florentine means it contains spinach, usually along with a rich sauce. As shrimp is a bit pricey, and the classic French rich part is a bit of a treat, I think this makes an appropriate Mother's Day dish. You can serve it for brunch, lunch or dinner. Serve it over rice and make a fresh green salad with a classic vinaigrette for a proper French meal. It's cheaper than taking Mom to Paris. :-)

Shrimp Florentine
(serves 2-3, can be doubled)

1 10-12 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed
non-stick cooking spray
½ pound raw medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup finely minced onion
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
pinch of nutmeg, optional
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
½ Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ Tablespoon minced fresh or frozen basil  (a few leaves)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Squeeze out most of the moisture in the spinach and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 1 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a medium skillet until very hot. Spray the pan with cooking spray and immediately add the shrimp in one layer. Cook on one side until just pink, turn over and cook on the other side until pink. The center may still not be cooked, which is fine. It will finish cooking in the oven. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 1 Tablespoon butter to the skillet. No need to clean it out; any bits sticking to the pan will add flavor to the sauce. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, if using. Stir and cook until the spinach is hot. Pour the spinach into the prepared baking dish.

Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter to the skillet. When it's melted, sprinkle in the flour. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. If your roux (that's the butter-flour mixture) starts to brown quickly, your pan is too hot and you need to lower the heat. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, basil, and cream. Stir gently until there are no lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens; it should coat the back of a spoon. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Add in the shrimp. Pour over the spinach. Bake for 20 minutes until sauce is bubbly.

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