Garlic Shrimp & Broccoli

When I first moved to Seattle, as a going-away present, my dear friend Christy gave me a gift certificate to a random Seattle restaurant she found online. She’d never been to the Emerald City, and she had no idea which part of Seattle I was moving to. Additionally, I have no idea how she stumbled upon this particular restaurant because they had only been open like a week. Literally. The gift certificate was a meticulously hand-written menu and voucher on a note card – they were so new that they didn’t have actual printed certificates.

Where you ask? Ocho. This was absolutely hysterical because initially I lived in a condo exactly 2 blocks from the place. And to make the story even crazier, the owner lived on my floor!

So on my first visit to Ocho, we rolled in, sat at the bar and told the bar tender to start bringing us whatever was delicious. After basically eating my way through practically the entire Spanish tapas menu, I was 100% smitten. The food is garlicy and fiery, the ambiance is sultry and seductive, the music is eclectic, and the drinks are stiff. *Swoon* I love it there. Attention Men of Seattle: if you want to woo a girl, take her to Ocho.

Two of my favorite dishes there are the Gambas al Ajillo (spicy garlic prawns), and the Broccoli and Escarole with garlic and pine nuts. Ok, so you can’t come near me for at least 3 days afterward because of the garlic, but it’s well worth it. I have taken friends to Ocho who don’t even like broccoli, and they left as transformed believers.

Well I can’t think of a better combo than shrimp and broccoli, so when I hit my own kitchen in an effort to recreate, I combine the two dishes. I don’t claim to have nailed it, (I have no idea what they use at Ocho; there’s a good chance it’s crack) but this is a decent likeness.

If you must go try the real thing for yourself, Ocho is on Market Street in Ballard. I have actually resisted even mentioning the place out loud because the last thing I need is more Ocho fans like me. A girl needs to be able to get a seat at the bar, ya know? In the meantime, give this recipe a whirl. Just make sure you feed it to your significant other/roommate. Otherwise you and your garlic breath will be banished from the living room. Enjoy!

Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli

Click here to print this recipe.
Serves: 3 – 4
Time to prepare: 20 minutes

1 1/2pound broccolini or broccoli raab, cut into small florets, stems chopped into 1 inch slices
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
5 – 6 large cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Pre-heat the broiler to high.

In a saute pan (not non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of a large knife, and add to the oil, along with the crushed red pepper. Infuse the oil over medium-low heat while trimming the broccoli and preparing the shrimp.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli for 30 seconds, just until vibrant green. Drain and stop the cooking by running under cold water or plunging into a bowl of ice water.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the oil and spoon over the broccoli. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, season with sea salt and place under the broiler about 6” from the flame to lightly brown – about 5 minutes, tossing once. Watch the broccoli closely. You want a little browning on the edges, but don’t let it burn. Remove from the oven when finished.

Meanwhile, add the shrimp to the pan, turn the heat to high, and toss to coat. Season lightly with sea salt. You want the edges to carmelize a bit, so don’t stir the shrimp constantly – cook on one side for a few minutes, then flip. Cook until the shrimp is pink and cooked, about 4 minutes.

Add the broccoli, along with the pine nuts to the pan, and toss to mix and coat. Remove the garlic cloves and discard. Check for seasoning, and serve.

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