Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a subscription to Cook's Illustrated. Every other month, I get an edition filled with recipes and tips, chopped full of delicious ideas. Unlike other magazines with glossy ads and bright pictures, Cook's Illustrated lacks ads and is printed on regular old paper. It's a nice change and feels like a cook book in itself. I found a recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavalo, which was enticing even with just a little black and white image.

If using frozen shrimp, allow to sit in a bowl of cold water until thawed.
Do not use warm water or the shrimp will begin to cook.
This is a recipe that's in another language, or at least the name of the dish is. I initially thought this was a sauce that goes with pasta but it turns out it's great on its own or with some bread. This definitely falls into the slightly fancier realm of dishes because shrimp is not cheap. Compared to some of my other recipes, this was a little more up there in price but it's so tasty!

Plump tomatoes are pierced to release juices for the sauce and then crushed to create a thick texture
Once the shrimps are thawed and shelled, you brown the shells in a skillet with some white wine. Strained and mashed plump tomatoes are added to the dish and simmered to meld the flavors. I used this time to stomach washing the anchovy filets and mince them with the garlic. I have to say, anchovies are probably good for their fishy flavor but they're weird.

This is what a can of anchovies looks like. You only need one or two so most of the can goes unused.
After the garlic and anchovies saute, the tomato juice is added along with the tomato mixture. I let the whole thing simmer while I chopped the basil and parsley. The pepperoncini are also diced although I did have to Google what they were to make sure I had the right thing. When considering how much spice to add, I thought about the ingredients and how most of them weren't spicy. So I erred on the side of more red pepper flakes. If you don't like spice then I would only add half the amount of red pepper flakes.

Save some wine for the meal!
Lastly, the shrimp is added to cook to a nice pink color. The basil, parsley and pepperoncini are added shortly after the shrimp (so actually lastly). I allowed everything to simmer together while I cleaned up and served up a plate of it with sliced baguette. So fancy! This was very spicy for me so the bread was necessary to mellow everything out. Ultimately, this could also be served with some pasta or even quinoa or eaten plain.

Look at all those yummy spices simmering
If you're looking for a nice go-to for a dinner for two, this is a great way to cook up something new and delightful while still staying in. In my opinion, it's also impressive, if I do say so myself! This pairs well with white wine, conveniently required for this recipe.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with French bread
  • 3/4 lb shrimp (20-25 shrimpies), peeled with shells reserved
  • 1 14oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (more for sipping while cooking)
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 anchovy filet (rinsed then patted dry and minced)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced pepperoncini and 1/2 teaspoon of brine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
From America's Test Kitchen's Cook's Illustrated 
  1. After peeling the shrimp, toss the shrimp bodies with salt and set aside. Pour the tomatoes into a colander placed over a bowl to catch the juices. Using a rubber spatula or masher, pierce the tomatoes to release the juices. Transfer the drained tomatoes to a small bowl. Reserve the juices and used colander.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat until simmering. Cook the shrimp shells in the skillet, stirring frequently, until they are spotty brown (1-2 minutes). Remove the skillet from heat and add the wine. When the wine stops bubbling, return the pan to heat and simmer until the wine has reduced to about 2 tablespoons (another 1-2 minutes although I found it took longer). 
  3. Add the tomato juice from step 1 and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the contents of the skillet into the previously used colander (do not clean it out between steps) set over a large bowl. Throw away the shells and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
  4. Heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and oregano over medium heat. Stir until the garlic is straw-colored, less than a minute. Add the minced anchovy and stir until fragrant. 
  5. Remove the pan from heat and add the drained tomatoes and crush until the mixture is pureed. Return the pan to heat and stir in the juice and wine mixture from step 3. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until the mixture thickens. I found this takes 5-10 minutes and does not become pasty but less soupy.
  6. Lastly, add the shrimp to the skillet and simmer until the shrimp appear pink and cooked through. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the basil, parsley, pepperoncini and brine. Season with salt to taste. Serve with french bread or over pasta and enjoy!


  1. This looks great! I found you via Boston Bloggers :-) I would love it if you would link this up at our link party The Wednesday Roundup, it runs today through Saturday and it shows on 8 blogs for maximum exposure http://foodyschmoodyblog.com/wednesday-roundup-week-18/

    1. Thanks for the tip! I've added a link to the round up :)

  2. looks delicious!! I can not wait to try this!