As a brand new gardener I have been patiently waiting for my very first tomato plants to burst with plump red and golden fruit. Unfortunately, the weather has not been working with me. The large amount of rain we had at the beginning of summer really slowed the growth of everyone’s tomatoes. I have lots of green ones, but I’ve only had three ripen so far. I really wanted to use my first two tomatoes in a simple dinner that featured their sweet flavor. With some peas from my garden and shrimp from the freezer, I had just about everything I needed for an easy summer dinner.I’d love to show you some photos of my tomato plants but unfortunately both my favorite lens and my camera are in for repairs. Drat!
I’ve tried a few different varieties but am learning from experience and advice that really only early ripening varieties and cherry varieties work well in Washington due to our short summer and abundance of rain.
My first tomatoes to ripen were two beautiful Legend tomatoes. They’re a sweet variety with just enough acidity to balance the flavor. Stewing them slightly in this recipe makes them even sweeter which pairs so well with snow peas and shrimp.
I buy big bags of frozen shrimp in large quantities to have on hand whenever I need a quick protein. I always buy the raw kind and get one bag that’s been shelled for recipes like this and one bag of shrimp with shells on for grilling. The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is overnight or for several hours in the fridge. You can run cold water over them but that washes away a lot of flavor.
But, like many of you, I often forget to think about my dinner menu until about 5 o’clock, so if I want to use shrimp I turn to the microwave we rarely use. I put the amount of shrimp I want into a microwave safe bowl and defrost them (50%) power for 30 seconds at a time. After 30 seconds I use my fingers to stir the shrimp, rub any ice crystals into the bowl. It usually takes no more than 2 minutes total to thaw them. There might still be ice crystals but I’m just trying to get the shrimp flexible, that way I know they won’t be frozen in the center and get the outside over cooked and tough.
If you use this method, DON’T throw out the juices in the bowl! The liquid is so flavorful and I use it all the time as you’ll see in this recipe.
By the way, if you’re a fan of reading like I am, the Blog Her Book Club offers reviews from a variety of BlogHer members to help you find the best reads. I recently reviewed “Rules of Civility”, a period book about the Depression era in Manhattan. While beautifully descriptive, the storyline just didn’t do it for me. My friend Lori at RecipeGirl has a list of summer reading recommendations, do you have a favorite new book?
I’m also totally curious, have you grown any tomatoes this year? What are you doing with them?
Shrimp and Peas in Fresh Tomato SaucePrep time: 5-10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15-20 minutes Yield: 2-4 servings
- 2 cups
whole snow peas or sugar snap peas
raw shrimp, shelled
- 1 TBS
- 2 cloves
- 2 roma sized tomatoes
cored and chopped
- 1/2 tsp
- 1/8 tsp
fresh ground pepper
- Rinse your peas and remove the side strings if desired. If shrimp are frozen, defrost in a sealed bag in cool water (or you can do 30 seconds in the microwave if you’re daring). Reserve juices with the shrimp.
- Heat coconut oil in a pan on medium high and add the peas. Cook two minutes and add the shrimp and their juices.
- Cook shrimp for one minute then flip and cook an additional minute.
- Use a slotted spatula or spoon to remove peas and shrimp to a plate.
- Add garlic to the pan then add tomatoes and their juices 30 seconds later.
- Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Return shrimp and peas to the pan. Mix well until heated through.
- Serve as is for two servings or over pasta for four.
Approximate cost/serving: If you grow your own tomatoes, garlic and peas it makes this incredibly cheap, but even if you don’t it’s very affordable. Make sure to get good farmer’s market tomatoes though since they’re the star of the dish. This cost me just $3.25 to make for two of us. That’s only $1.63 a serving. You can make it even cheaper dividing it for four servings over pasta (but it’s delicious on its own).
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: If you eat seafood you’re fine. The recipe is gluten free but of course if you serve it over pasta use a gluten free variety.