Shrimp with almonds and onions is a simple but very tasty appetizer that was inspired by something we tried in Croatia. It reminded me a bit of a preparation from Venice called ‘in Saor‘, but this is even more simple. The combination of the sweet earthy shrimp with the sweet onions and earthy almonds works very well. The garlic adds depth of flavor and it brightened up by parsley and just a drop of lemon juice. It takes a bit of time to allow the onions to soften and become slightly sweet, but if you use low heat you don’t need to pay a lot of attention and you will be rewarded with a lot of flavor for such a simple dish. The almonds aren’t toasted but only briefly sautéed together with the shrimp. As usual with shrimp, they should be cooked only very briefly to keep them tender and juicy. Here is what I did…
For 4 servings as an appetizer
225 grams (.5 lb) peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
40 grams (1/4 cup) white almonds
2 onions, thinly sliced
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine the shrimp in a bowl with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 or 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper. Stir to mix and allow to marinate in the refrigerator while you cook the onions.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add 2 thinly sliced onions and stir them for a minute to coat them with the oil. Season lightly with salt.
Add 120 ml (1/2 cup) of dry white wine.
Lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Add a bit of water if needed. The onions should become soft, but not mushy, and only slightly golden.
After half an hour, add the final tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Then add 40 grams (1/4 cup) white almonds, increase the heat, and stir for a minute.
Add the shrimp…
…and stir over medium high heat until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Add a tablespoon of minced parsley, and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Serve at once or at room temperature with a bit of green salad or as part of a collection of seafood antipasti. At the last moment, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top of the shrimp.
An Italian dry white with a hint of almonds such as many Soave or Verdicchio would be an excellent choice. Do not pick a wine with new oak or high acidity. If the wine seems to acidic with the dish anyway, add a bit more lemon juice.
This traditional tian provençal is made with eggplant, zucchini, and tomato. Don’t let the simplicity fool you: this tian bursts with flavor thanks to the slow roasting and the herbes de provence.