So the kid requested shrimp for the first time in years. The thing is, we already had fresh turkey sausage from the farmer’s market in the fridge. And I had that craving for sausage. What to do?
Put ’em together.
Even though the sausage is made from turkey, I’m sure the combination will work, because it’s seasoned in the Italian style, i.e., with fennel and sage, making it reminiscent of the traditional pork sausage. And pork products marry well with seafood. I recall from a trip to Portugal how much we enjoyed their classic combination of pork and clams, Porco à Alentejana. Italian cooking also uses bacon in combination with clams in Clams Casino. So why not sausage and seafood?
I bought a pound of shrimp, which are easy as anything to make, except for the slightly annoying process of peeling the shrimp. But I do that because there’s no way I’m gonna pay Whole Paycheck to clean my shrimp. I may be lazy, but not that lazy.
Shrimp require very few other ingredients to be scrumptious. Just season with salt and pepper and cook for about four minutes in a hot pan lubricated by a good glug of oil or butter, or better yet, oil AND butter. The only other additions you need are a couple or more thinly sliced cloves of garlic and the juice of half a lemon added at the end to make a simple, sprightly sauce. Beautiful eating. Just don’t overcook the shrimp or they become rubber-like. It’s a couple of minutes on one side until they turn that luscious coral color, and then about half as much time as on the flip side. And don’t put the garlic in until the shrimp start cooking or it can become burnt and bitter. Finish by adding the fresh lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
But sausage with shrimp, really? Most definitely, yes.
In this case, start by cooking the sausage first, over medium heat, in a frying pan. A half pound or so. I remove it from the casing because I want a “crumbly” texture in this dish alongside the whole shrimp. Depending on the fat content of the sausage, you may not even need any oil in the pan, as sausage will generally produce enough of its own. But by all means, if you need a squeeze to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn, then go right ahead.
Remove the sausage once it is browned and fully cooked, but the key is to leave whatever fat has accumulated in the pan. That’s what you’ll use to saute the shrimp. You may need to also add a little olive oil or butter, but definitely use any sausage fat because it’s loaded with savory flavor. After setting the sausage momentarily aside, add the shrimp to the hot pan, and add sliced garlic.. Once the shrimp are half-way cooked, you could also toss in some cherry tomatoes, as I did, or some decent olives if you have those around. Add the sausage back and finish it off with a few shreds of fresh basil.
Serve with crusty bread or over a simple pasta? Uh-huh. Pinot Grigio for the chef? For sure. Happy kid? Yes. Happier parents? Mos def.
You can find more of Rob Rosenthal on Short Order Dad.