There are simply never enough simple weeknight dinner sautés. Get out that skillet, and heat up some oil, some onions and then start throwing things in. This dish was created in just such a way – I had a pound of shrimp that I needed to cook that day, and I had some onions (which we should all always have!), some fennel, and some spinach.
I also had a Hatch pepper, which are a certain type of hot pepper that lots of chefs and home cooks love. They are grown in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. The flavor has been described as slightly with a hints of sweetness, spiciness, and smokiness. Young they are green, when they mature they turn red. There are many varieties of Hatch peppers, and the spiciness depends on the variety. Remember that with all hot peppers the heat resides in the seeds and the ribs, so remove them if you are looking to keep the heat level in check.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped fennel
- 1 mild Hatch pepper or other hot pepper, seeded and minced
- 3 cups sliced bok choy
- 6 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups Hot cooked rice to serve
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Add the hot pepper and bok choy, and sauté for 4 more minutes.
- Add the spinach and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes until the spinach wilts. Then add the shrimp and continue to sauté until the shrimp is cooked through and pink, about 4 minutes.
- Place the hot cooked rice onto a serving platter, and turn the shrimp and spinach mixture over the rice. Serve hot.
About Shrimp Sizes:
According to Eating Well Magazine, size names like “jumbo” or “extra large” aren’t standardized, so they don’t mean a whole lot when it comes to shrimp size. Instead, look to the “count” number on the label. Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound, so the lower the count, the bigger the shrimp. If you see “21-25 count” on the label, that is a pretty standard size, and is larger than “31-35 count.” To be sure you’re getting the size you want, order by the count (or number) per pound. Choose the count that’s recommended for the dish you’re making and remember they don’t take long to cook so don’t overcook them.
Also, most “fresh” shrimp sold in supermarkets in the United States have been shipped frozen and then thawed for the fish counter. That means that the shrimp you find in the freezer aisle is exactly the same as what’s presented as “fresh”—it just hasn’t been sitting around on a bed of ice all day. Unless you know for sure that your fish counter shrimp is really, truly fresh from the ocean, the frozen variety is in fact probably a bit fresher. And you can take it home and keep it frozen just until you’re ready to use it so you’re sure it’s as “fresh” as possible.
To thaw frozen shrimp, put it in the refrigerator, covered, for about a day to defrost or place in a colander under cool running water.