Roasted Shrimp with Fennel + Feta

Thank you all for your very sweet words after yesterday's post. It was so fun to share our love story that started 11 years ago :)

So today I'm here to tell you about my new Ina Garten cookbook. I received How Easy is That? for Christmas and though I'm a huge (huge) Ina fan, I had yet to break it open and give it a spin. Until last week.

If you've read my blog in the past, you'd know that I absolutely adore Ina. I love her crisp Hamptons style, her delicious and semi-artisinal eats, and especially her refusal to compromise any ingredients to save a few calories. When I came across her roasted shrimp with feta, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't very unhealthy at all. In fact, the only 'bad for you' ingredients are feta cheese and panko breadcrumbs...both of which can be substituted with reduced-fat cheese and whole wheat panko. But I went all out on this one.

The sharp feta balances the acidic tomatoes while the tender fennel gives just an extra sweetness and texture that should not be compromised. Admittedly, I had never worked with fennel before, but it couldn't be easier to break down.

I had avoided it completely due to my distaste for anise flavor, but I will admit that it's essential in this dish. And once it gets cooking, it's actually sweet. And pretty fantastic. I'm a convert.


Roasted Shrimp with Fennel + Feta
*Adapted from Ina Garten (my girl!)
1 medium-sized fennel, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/3 C white wine
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb. peeled shrimp (I used frozen, raw shrimp. I defrosted & peeled)
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 C panko breadcrumbs
3 tsp ground parsley
1 tsp grated lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet (preferably one with high sides). Add the fennel and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, stir, and then add the wine. Bring to a boil and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom (aka, the best part!). Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, until the flavors all meld together.

Meanwhile, make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the panko, lemon zest and parsley; set aside.

Lay the uncooked shrimp over the tomato mixture in the skillet.

Layer the feta over the shrimp. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until the shrimp are completely cooked and the panko is golden.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the finished dish.

Now serve it up!

I served this dish with a bit of whole wheat baguette that I picked up at Whole Foods. It needed no other side dish. It was super filling. The shrimp cooked up perfectly and the flavors all just came together. It was fantastic. The one tweak I will make next time is to add more white wine or even a bit of vegetable broth. Once the dish cooked up, there wasn't much 'sauce' left in the skillet, but all of the juices had been absorbed. I really wanted that sauce for my baguette. Next time, friends! The sauce will be mine.

So there you have it. A super easy dish that we got 5 meals out of. Shocking, no? We had a serving for dinner, both had some for lunch and I had it for dinner another night that week. So what do you think? Do you ever cook with shrimp or seafood? And what are your feelings on Ina? Yay or nay? Or do you have another favorite celebrity chef?