Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Summertime is no country for formal sauces; long, warm days call for fast and unfussy. Romesco, a rustic, nutty Spanish sauce, makes a great accompaniment to simple fare—a spread for sandwiches, a dip for fresh veggies or a topping for fish or meat off the grill. No one seems to agree on the exact ingredient list, but most iterations call for tomatoes, peppers and garlic thickened by blending with bread and blanched almonds.
This sautéed shrimp dish takes it one step simpler, borrowing the Romesco ingredients, but skipping the whole throwing-everything-in-the-blender part. Here, fresh whole cherry tomatoes, sliced almonds and red bell peppers get sautéed as a base for cooking tiny rock shrimp. To round out the meal, toast some croutons from a sliced baguette and make a side salad of sliced fennel and oranges.
Despite the acidity in the tomatoes and the heat from the chile flakes, two things that might narrow the choices of wines for the dish, there’s plenty of wiggle room when it comes to pairings. From a Provence rosé to a Greek white to a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc—all unoaked, with a light, summery feel—we found much to like. However, a Portuguese blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viosinho and Arinto (two native white grapes) was especially good. The stony notes matched up with the minerality of the shrimp, while the wine’s acidity went toe-to-toe with the tomatoes.
Pair with a Portuguese white such as Quinta de Chocapalha Lisboa White 2010 (85 points, $18)
Total time: 20 minutes
Approximate food cost: $35
1. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and toast them in either the oven at 400° F or in a sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Reserve.
2. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the sliced almonds until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Reserve.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced bell pepper and sauté until soft, around 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rock shrimp and continue to cook until the shrimp are done, another 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste and remove from the stove.
4. Stir in the almonds, divide into 4 bowls and serve immediately with the crisped croutons. Serves 4.
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