Saturday, January 12, 2008

Light and Healthy

Even though new year's resolutions often are seen as hopeless pipe dreams that don't last more than a month, I always make one. Lots of people swear that THIS is the year they will eat better, lose weight, and generally get in shape. But I decided that if I'm making a food resolution, it's not going to be something as generic as "eat healthy." Because let's face it—that's just another doomed high hope.

Instead, I decided to be (a little bit) more specific. I am resolving this year to be more thoughtful about what I eat. Some of my friends may say that if I thought any more about food, I'd turn into a five-foot, eight-inch baguette or piece of prosciutto. I do think (a lot) about food, but more along the lines of what would taste good for dinner when I've had a long day or what kind of herbs would go the best with chicken salad.

I generally prefer healthful foods. I never met a vegetable I didn't like. I actually enjoy things like tofu, brown rice, and broccoli sprouts. But for some reason, I don't eat enough of the foods I love that are good for me. Jason and I both could use more fiber, more vitamins, more whole foods in our diets. So I'm trying to get creative by still making the go-to dishes we enjoy while infusing them with the healthy foods that I know we should be eating. I'm not necessarily cutting anything out—just adding in more of the good stuff.

One thing we both adore is shrimp. Garlic, lemon, and white wine combine so seamlessly with shrimp (or any seafood, really), they strike a lovely chord when eaten together. I found huge, fresh Wild American Shrimp at the grocery store. I went the tried-and-true route with the trinity of shrimp-loving ingredients and added some fresh grape tomatoes. Letting the tomatoes cook until they're soft and sweet creates a perfect sauce for cooking fresh green spinach. The shrimp add another dimension that makes for an altogether fabulous combination. Served over whole-wheat couscous to soak up the sauce, it was a healthy, delicious meal. It would also be perfect over pasta.

Lemony Shrimp with Tomatoes and Spinach
serves 2
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed with the flat part of a knife
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Most of a 1 (16-ounce) bag spinach, tough stems removed
10-12 large shrimp or 15 medium shrimp
1/2 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces
Whole wheat couscous

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and smashed garlic, season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until tomatoes are very soft and garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it doesn't burn. Stir in wine, broth, half of lemon zest and half of lemon juice. Simmer sauce about 2 minutes. Remove largest pieces of garlic.

Add as much spinach as you like, cover skillet, and cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. If skillet looks dry, add more broth, a tablespoon at a time. Meanwhile, cook couscous per package directions. When spinach is cooked, stir until everything is well combined. Add shrimp and toss in the sauce mixture. Cook until shrimp are firm and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on size. Off heat, stir in remaining lemon juice, zest, and butter. Serve over fluffed couscous.

A good white wine to try: Cartlidge & Browne 2006 Chardonnay. Smooth and light with a nice but subtle fruitiness. And inexpensive to boot!


Peyton said...

I just received your email regarding your renewed blog diligence, and I headed straight here for a little bit of "amuse"-ment! (Haha, sorry.) I read the whole page before I even realized what I was doing, and I am officially obsessed with (and inspired by) your commitment to affordable, healthful food! Consider me a frequent visitor for the year. :)

Lytle said...

Katie, fabulous recipe! You managed to get so many of my favorite foods in one dish. I tossed in some white beans and then put it over spinach at the end - sort of a like a salad. Thank you for inspiring a fun meal on an otherwise boring Monday!