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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fishing on Friday

I've heard rumours that the Easter Bunny has been seen hopping around our neighbourhood.


What I do know, is that it's Good Friday and that means fish and seafood in our household. I'm often asked why it is that we eat fish on Good Friday and to be honest, I don't know the precise answer although I suspect it has much to do with this being the day that, in the religious context, Jesus was crucified. For as long as I can remember, Fridays were reserved for fish. It was a nice way to end the week, especially in preparation for the very large (and meat-filled) lunch we'd usually have on Sundays.

While we do enjoy our fish on Good Friday, it's not quite the same as the celebration on Christmas Eve. Good Friday has a more sombre tone to it and the food we eat tends to be simple. Usually, my mother will make a pasta sauce with skate and a few mussels and clams thrown in at the end. But for this Good Friday, I wanted to try something new.

Flipping through Jamie's Italy, I came across a recipe for spaghetti with shrimp and arugula. The picture made me stop. I love shrimp and pasta and the sight of the two of them with colourful bits of arugula had my mouth watering.

Preparation for the pasta was quite easy. Instead of using dried chili flakes, I decided to use fresh red chile peppers. The recipe calls for sundried tomato puree, which I didn't have. So I improvised and made my own by soaking a handful of sundried tomatoes in boiling water for about twenty minutes. I drained them and put the softened tomatoes in the bowl of the food processor. I added a few cloves of garlic and processed them until everything was finely chopped. Then, with the processor running, I poured in about a quarter cup of olive oil through the food tube. I ended up with a dark red puree that had a very concentrated tomato taste.

While the spaghetti boiled, I sauteed garlic and the red chile peppers in olive oil. I added the shrimp and then some white wine and the sundried tomato puree. Once the spaghetti was cooked, I added the pasta to the pan with the sauce and shrimp. I added lemon juice and arugula and then mixed until all the spaghetti was coated in the fragrant sauce. Before serving, I sprinkled the spaghetti with a bit of lemon zest for colour and flavour.

What a delicious plate of pasta! On this sombre Good Friday, we had a bit of sunshine inside.


Spaghetti with Shrimp and Arugula

Adapted from Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Note: I used spaghetti as in the original recipe, but you could try this with any long pasta. While the original recipe indicates that it will serve 4, you could probably stretch it to serve 6.

1 lb. spaghetti (I used fresh spaghetti)
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile pepper, finely chopped
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp. sundried tomato puree
juice and zest of one lemon
1 cup arugula leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook your spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook according to 2. package directions. While your spaghetti is cooking, prepare the sauce.
2. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic and chile pepper. Saute for about 20 seconds, don't let the garlic burn.
3. Add the shrimp and cook for about a minute, until the shrimp have turned a pinkish/orange colour on both sides.
4. Add the white wine and the sundried tomato puree. Cook for a few minutes over high heat, until the sauce has reduced a bit.
5. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain the pasta and then add it to the pan. Add the lemon juice and the arugula and begin mixing the pasta until it is completely coated in sauce and the arugula has begun to wilt.
6. Plate the pasta and sprinkle a bit of lemon zest on top before serving.
7. Enjoy!

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