Blackened Shrimp with Citrus and Roasted Fennel

It’s been quite a long hiatus from blogging, and I for one am glad it’s over.

Nothing special made me stop blogging, just the overwhelming business of life and work. It’s a good life, but one that for the past year or two has lost the balance between work and private life that I seem to have achieved when I was blogging more frequently.

At any rate, things in general have settled down a bit and I find myself actually having free time again to write. And so the blog is back!

What’s new, you ask?

Well, I am about 30 pounds thinner, that’s one big thing.  Nothing magic or amazing, just a food delivery diet that let someone else do the work for me. I still have at least another 40 pounds to go, but decided to see if I could take myself there without the crutch of a delivery diet. And so, I’m on a mission to find a stable of light and healthy but delicious meals that I can begin to incorporate into our life and my diet. It’s only week two of this new on-my-own diet and I am pleased to tell you I have found one amazing dinner that I know I’ll be making over and over again.

Try it, and I predict you will be too.

Blackened Shrimp with Citrus and Roasted Fennel

This recipe is a modification from a recipe found in Cooking Light, a magazine I highly recommend for anyone, not just dieters, who is looking for great recipes. The recipe written here is with my modifications, mostly made to accommodate my larder, which did not at the time include fresh herbs or more than one shallot. I also made my own rice/grain mix. (The original recipe called for a box mix.).

Next time I will add an additional fennel bulb – found myself wanting more! You could also add a few more shrimp when serving 4, as this only gives about 7 per person. Farro would make a nice alternative to rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs with stalks (about 7 oz. each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into quarters

For Shrimp:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

For Rice-Grain mix

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used a red/white quinoa blend)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Reserved orange rind

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Grate one orange to equal 1 teaspoon rind; reserve for use in the rice/quinoa mix. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Remove stalks from fennel; chop fronds to equal 2 tablespoons and reserve for garnish. (Save the stalks for future use in a salad, broth, meat braise or fish dish.) Cut fennel bulbs into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Combine orange slices, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shallots, garlic, onion and fennel wedges on a rimmed baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer to cook. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes or until fennel is tender and lightly charred.

While veggies are cooking, make the rice/quinoa mix.

Cook the rice: Rinse rice well under cold running water; drain. Boil 3/4 cup water in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a small pot till shimmering. Add rice and salt, stirring well while sauteing over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, till slightly toasted. Add the boiling water, cover and simmer over a low heat until done.

Cook the quinoa: Rinse quinoa well under cold running water. Add to saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until done.

While rice and quinoa are cooking, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper in a small bowl. Toss with shrimp, being sure it is evenly coated with the spice mixture. Hold in the fridge if veggies and rice mix are not yet done. (You’ll be cooking up the shrimp at the last minute before serving.)

Toss cooked rice and cooked Quinoa in serving bowl with the reserved orange rind. Cover to keep warm while shrimp cooks.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes, tossing frequently, or until done. Arrange fennel orange mix on serving platter. Top with shrimp and garnish with fennel fronds.

Serves 4. Shrimp/fennel/orange mix has 141 cals per serving. Adding 1/2 cup cooked rice/quinoa brings it to 428 cals per serving.

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