This past December, I received a package from England.
When I opened it, I found this:
There’s a reason your best friend is your best friend: the English One knows me all too well, and he sent me this kit to grow my own hot peppers. The package said that the optimal time to plant them was March/April, so last week while the sun was shining in Paris, I planted the little seeds and wrote their names on popsicle sticks so I would remember which was which.
Too bad they haven’t born fruit yet: I would have loved to have used my own home-grown peppers in this Grow Your Own Challenge! I guess I’ll have to wait. In the meantime, I’ve been using the basil plant you can see hiding behind my peppers.
Basil is probably my favorite food ever. I adore the smell: it makes me think of summer days picking basil in my mom’s garden. I’ve been known to pick the leaves and chew on them all alone, but of course they’re better when they’re accompanying something.
I found a recipe for Gulf Shrimp with Feta Cheese and Lemon Butter Sauce over at Running with Tweezers, which has quickly become my go-to blog since I found it just a few short weeks ago. I edited the recipe a bit: Tami used tomato, which definitely isn’t in season yet, so I left it out. It’s harder to find uncooked shrimp here, and nearly impossible to find peeled ones, so I peeled my own cooked shrimp and used the shells to make shrimp stock to use for later. Feel free to use uncooked shrimp if you like: just head over to Tami’s site to see how she did it.
She also used cilantro, but I’ve recently learned that the boy is one of those weird people who doesn’t like cilantro. Since I have fresh basil, I decided to use that instead.
The result was a restaurant-quality dish that we both adored. I love to use angel hair pasta with seafood, and the delicate balance of the lemon-butter sauce over the capellini was incredible. I served it with a simple salad of soft lettuces with lemon vinaigrette. It was a delicious meal to remind us that spring is here, and, of course, it was great to use some of my own basil to make the recipe.
This is my submission for this round of the Grow Your Own challenge. Feel free to head over and submit your own recipes!
Lemon-Butter Shrimp with Basil and Feta (adapted from Running with Tweezers)
1 pound cooked shrimp with heads and tails
1 clove garlic, cut in half
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 ounce feta cheese
1 tbsp butter
5 leaves basil, ripped into pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
7 oz. cappellini
Melt the butter over low heat and add the garlic to infuse it. Meanwhile, remove the heads and tails from the shrimp and boil water for the cappellini.
Increase the heat under the butter and add the wine. Cook for two minutes to reduce slightly. Remove the garlic cloves.
Add the cappellini to the water and add the shrimp to the skillet. Toss and cover. Cook for one minute, just to heat through: be careful not to overcook the shrimp!
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir to combine. When the cappellini is done (it cooks for about three minutes total) use tongs to remove it from the pot and add it to the skillet, stirring to combine. Add some pasta water if necessary. Taste for seasoning.
Move the pasta and shrimp to a serving dish. Top with basil and feta cheese. Serve immediately.