Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lemons to Lemonade - or Shrimps & Merguez over Spinach

Remember the expression “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? I’ve heard it so often, I’m not sure who the original author was. Anyway, for the last few days, we’ve been noticing a less than pleasant smell emanating from both the fridge and freezer and I was pretty sure that there was nothing that had “gone bad”. But I had to really check it out before calling a repair man at $1 gazillion per hour. So I emptied my over stuffed little freezer compartment and moved things away from the vent at the back (it’s a self-defrosting one) and found all sorts of lovely goodies I'd forgotten about - like 4 bags of shrimps. So some of those and the 4 merguez sausages (North African style spicy lamb sausages) became dinner ingredients. On to the fridge and did the same thing…reorganized, made sure nothing was “whiskered” (my first mother-in-law’s term for mold) and found some spinach that was starting to wilt. More supper ingredients.

The hardest part was finding new homes for the kitchen toys that had been sitting on top of the fridge, keeping the air from circulating. That done and after some rest time (you can’t imagine how many jars of mustard and jams/jellies sit on the second shelf), it was time to get dinner ready.

Now this dish is definitely South Beach Diet friendly in Phase 2. For Phase One, just eliminate the sausages

Sautéed Shrimp & Merguez over Spinach

Prep time: 15 minutes (to defrost and remove shells from shrimps)
Sauté time: 8-10 minutes
Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
Large or medium sized shrimp (figure 1 cup/person) Truthfully we use 1 lb/450 g for the two of us, but it would probably serve 4)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup fresh cilantro or oregano, chopped
4 merguez (or other spicy sausage) cut into 1” slices
1 bag baby spinach
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and sauté onions until soft (4-5 minutes). Add the shrimp, garlic, lemon juice & zest and toss. Cook for 4 minutes or until the shrimps have turned pink. Don’t over cook them. Remove from the pan and set aside in a large bowl. Toss with cilantro or oregano.

2. In the same skillet, sauté the merguez over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or so. They should no longer be pink in the center. Remove and add to the shrimp.

3. Time for the spinach. Wipe out the skillet, add a little water (1 tbsp) and heat spinach over medium heat until wilted. Sometimes I find the spinach a bit bitter, when that happens I just add a pinch of sugar.

4. Normally I would serve the shrimp & sausage mix over rice (brown or wild now that I’m paying attention), but this time we just ate it over the spinach. The merguez sausage is spicy, so I don’t add any spices, but if you’re just doing shrimps, I’d add ¼ tsp chili flakes or whatever your favorite heat is.

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funwithyourfood said...

Seafood was the last meat I gave up and booooyy does this look good! hmm they have mock shrimp- maybe I should give that a try.


Kalyn said...

I've been looking for a recipe for something to make with Merguez. I got some in San Francisco and hadn't had it before. Thanks!

Ruth said...

Teddy, shrimps & lobster WOULD be the last meat I would give up, IF I were ever to give up meat - probably not in this lifetime though.

Kalyn, merguez is really awesome and goes great with shrimp. I also love it in a marinara sauce to give pasta a whole new dimension.

Thanks both of you, for dropping by.