This recipe should not be ignored! It was absolutely delicious. It is simple and fast and I recommend it hands down if you have people coming over and you need something fast, but, you also want to wow their tongues with unspeakable pleasure!
I have been reading a lot about Japanese food lately, probably because of my son’s comic novel addiction. The food is simple and relies very much on fresh fish and a basic stock called dashi, which is made from kelp and dried mackerel flakes called Bonito. They also seem to be obsessed with panko bread crumbs. This kind of bread crumb is made from slow-dried Japanese bread and is then flaked. It sort of melts in your mouth. They use it in lots of fried dishes and as a topping.
I wasn’t thinking about making anything from my very modest Japanese repertoire, but, I wanted to use panko crumbs in some way? I also had the urge for a simple pasta dish – something that would burst of flavor with very little effort on my part (besides, I was going to meet a friend for a movie so dinner had to be of a speedy nature – I prefer to make something fast when I have little time and then take my time eating, instead of the other way around!).
I wanted them to be crispy and to stay crispy? I though I could toast them in the oven with some sort of seasoning to give them their own flavor – lemon zest? That was a yummy idea and from there it was pretty easy. I would use the lemon juice to make the sauce and toss the pasta in and then top with my lemon crumbs. I was going to have chicken but the kids objected to lemon chicken in favor of lemon shrimp? It is not that I obey their every command but in this case I happened to have both shrimp and chicken and shrimp would be faster – request granted my little Rat Scallions!
My confession is that I did end up cooking some chicken breast on the side, because, I was curious about how it would taste with the pasta and because my man likes his chicken!
You will need: 1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp (31-40 count per lb), 2 lemons (juice & zest), 1 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley. 1 small sweet onion, 2 cloves garlic, 6 tbs unsalted butter, 1/2 cup panko flakes (Japanese breadcrumbs), 1 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla Brand), extra virgin olive oil for frying, Parmigiano Reggiana (optional)
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Zest and juice both lemons and combine zest with the panko crumbs (set juice aside for your sauce). Place on shallow baking sheet and place in oven for 5 minutes. They will be a little toasted and crispy. Put in bowl and add about 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Rub together with your fingers until the oil and crumbs are combined in a crumbly way. Set aside.
2 – Put pasta water on to boil & cook pasta according to instructions. Before draining pasta scoop out a 1/2 cup of the water to use in your sauce.
3 – While pasta is cooking, take shell off of shrimp and de-vein (you can also leave the vein in – it’s not poop – just sandy stuff!). Set aside
4 – Dice onions and finely chop garlic. Put big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until onions are soft. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.
5 – Add butter and when it has just melted stir in lemon juice and give everything a stir (the liquid will thicken a little).
6 – At this point you will be draining the pasta and add it directly to the pan along with the reserved pasta water and parsley. Serve immediately topped with a sprinkle of the lemony crumbs, freshly ground black pepper and some grated Parmigiano Reggiana cheese (if you have it).
As I said, I also made some chicken breast to satisfy certain appetites – it was equally lovely like this!