Gently spiced shrimp, pan-seared gnocchi, caramelized onion, wilted spinach and beurre monté. What more could you ask for? This is a plateful of scrump-dilly-iciousness! A little effort? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely! Fiesta Friday worthy? I sure hope so! So off I go, there’s a party at The Novice Gardener…
Before the recipe, I offer a little back story. This dish hails from a local restauranteur, Joe Muer. His restaurant, Joe Muer Seafood, was [and is again now, more on that later] a Detroit tradition for years. It was a favorite of ours. Mr. Muer was a client of the firm Glenn and I worked at way back when and whenever I saw Joe, he always wore his trademark bow-tie. Such a sweet man, bespectacled, bald head and that bow-tie! We would go to Muer’s for dinners of a more special occasion. Seafood/fish served up at it’s finest was always on the menu. It was never a disappointing meal.
One of Glenn’s brothers worked there as Maître d’ for a stint after college. Those were some of the best meals we enjoyed there. Talk about service 🙂 Then there was the time Glenn, intending on ordering “Pickerel” for his entree, requested “Prickerel” by mistake. There were a few “spit-gags” at the table! But the best was watching our 20 something, black-tied waiter trying not to laugh. It was priceless…aahhh the memories of misbehaving!
Joe Muer Seafood closed many years ago due to Joe’s retirement from the restaurant business. Lucky for us, it was resurrected in recent years as Joe sold his name and recipes to a local growing company, Joe Vicari Restaurant Group. It is through their sharing of this recipe through a local newspaper [Detroit Free Press] that I was able to prepare this at home. Lucky us!
Let’s get cooking… Though this is an appetizer on the restaurant menu, we chose to eat it as an entree for three. We could have used more, as we practically inhaled it. Next time [and there will definitely be a next time], I’ll make more – lots more!
1 Tablespoon water
1 stick butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup sambal oelek [see Note below]
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
1 cup loose packed parsley leaves
1 pound U16-20 [see note below] shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 Tablespoons [or more to taste] diablo blend
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces cooked potato gnocchi
1 large sweet onion, cut in half then sliced thin
2 Tablespoons butter
4 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Notes: If you’re not familiar with sambal oelek, it is a ground, fresh chili paste. My local store sells it in the produce section along with the fresh herbs. It is sold in a toothpaste like tube.
I like the size of U16-20 [number per pound] shrimp for this meal, though larger ones would work well also. Small ones such as U36-40 may get lost in the dish. However, use what you have available or what you prefer.
•First things first, prep the components you will use for the dish.
1. Caramelize the onion in a large oven-safe skillet. Melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat, add the sliced onion and cook until nicely browned. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning. Once caramelized, transfer to plate to cool until needed.
2. Prepare the diablo blend. Finely chop the parsley leaves and combine with the sambal oelek and the freshly ground pepper. Mix well; set aside until needed.
3. Cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions, or until they float. Drain in colander and set aside.
4. Make the Beurre Monte. In a double-boiler or a bowl placed over a small pot of boiling water, heat the 1 Tablespoon of water to a boil. Add the butter cubes slowly, whisking until emulsified to a sauce consistency. Reduce burner heat, and keep warm.
5. Preheat oven to “warm” setting.
•In the same large, oven-safe skillet used for the onions [don’t wash it, you want that “onion” flavor], heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and season with salt and pepper. Allow gnocchi to become golden brown, gently rolling to brown all sides.
•Once the gnocchi is golden add the caramelized onions and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, stirring until it wilts.
•Place the skillet in the preheated, warm oven to hold as the shrimp is prepared.
•Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil in a second skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is almost smoking. Add the shrimp. Cook 1-2 minutes each side [size of shrimp will vary the timing].
•Add the sliced garlic and let toast for about 15 seconds. Add the diablo blend and cook for an additional 15-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in desired amount of beurre monte.
•Divide the gnocchi blend evenly among plates, and top with shrimp. Drizzle the pan sauce over the top and serve.
Recipe adapted from The Detroit Free Press & Joe Muer Seafood.