Making your mom eggs on Mother's Day is easy. That's not to say serving her an omelet in bed or a frittata on the sun porch isn't a good idea—such gestures are always appreciated. But this year, why not try your hand at a dish that's a bit more time consuming to prepare, yet yields far more impressive results?
Today's Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from Cowgirl Cuisine, is for Gazpacho Risotto with Garlic Shrimp. Don't be alarmed by the number of jalapenos—they add only a mild heat, while the slow roasted tomatoes lend the dish a rich smokiness. The finished risotto is a real showstopper: tinted a lovely shade of pink and brimming with fresh vegetables. You could serve it simply, without the shrimp, but doesn't your mom deserve a meal that pulls out all the stops?
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- 12 plum tomatoes, halved
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 yellow bell peppers
- 8 large cucumbers, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots (or 1/2 red onion finely chopped)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
The night or morning before serving this risotto, preheat the oven to 200F. Place the halved tomatoes, seed-pockets up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 8 hours, until the tomatoes are concentrated and meaty but not dry. If not using right away, place in a sealed plastic container and refrigerate until needed.
An hour before serving, toss the shrimp, garlic, a light sprinkling of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Place the yellow peppers directly on a burner and char over a gas flame, turning as necessary to blacken evenly on all sides. Alternatively, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil, turning as necessary, until the skins blacken on all sides. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a towel to allow them to steam for at least 15 minutes. Using your fingers or a paring knife, peel and seed the peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice, and reserve.
Chop each roasted tomato half into 6 pieces. Combine them with the yellow peppers in a medium bowl and toss with the sherry wine vinegar.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is quite hot but not smoking, sauté the jalapeños, stirring constantly, until softened, about 3 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper and sauté 2 minutes, until the shallots are soft. Add the rice and stir about 2 minutes, until all the kernels are coated with oil.
Lower the heat to medium and add the sherry. Stir until the sherry is absorbed. Begin adding the cucumber-tomato juice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each addition of juice to be absorbed before adding more. Continue until the risotto is creamy and the rice grains are al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the jalapeño, tomato-yellow pepper mixture, butter, and half of the parsley. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and cover the saucepan.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot but not smoking, add the shrimp and saute, stirring, just until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Serve the risotto in warm shallow bowls, topped with equal portions of the seared shrimp and the remaining parsley.