Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shrimp Skewers and Wild Rice, Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Arugula

I've been on a shrimp kick, and with a random assortment of half-used items in my kitchen that I needed to either use or send to the gods of wastefulness, my fridge was looking a bit desperate. This is a case of coming up with a side dish that has nearly everything but my kitchen sink in's tasty, though (probably in no small part due to the omission of the kitchen sink).

As for the shrimp, this is a simple preparation that offers a tiny bit of heat from the chili pepper. The bell pepper offers crunch while the tomatoes give a tiny bit of sweet acidity to the skewer. The basil leaf folded in the center of each shrimp offers just a slight hint of fresh herbiness to compliment the chili. Should you be so fortunate, these would work beautifully on the grill!

Shrimp Skewers with Wild Rice, Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Arugula

5 tbs light olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chili, finely minced
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
1/2 large eggplant, cut into small cubes
8 oz mushrooms of choice, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used oyster and shiitake)
1/2 c dry white wine
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 c fresh baby arugula
12 leaves fresh basil
1/2 bell pepper, cut into 8 large chunks
8 cherry tomatos
2 c prepared wild rice mix
fresh tomato slices, if desired
lime wedges, if desired

In a ziplock bag, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, minced chili, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and broil on the top rack for 4 minutes. Flip the eggplant, and broil an additional 3 minutes, or until soft and just turning brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Combine the mushrooms and wine in a bowl with 1/4 tsp salt and allow to rest, stirring occeasionally.

Heat remaining 2 tbs oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until just turning golden. Add the remaining garlic and saute another minute. Add eggplant, wine, and mushrooms; allow to cook--stirring frequently--until mushrooms are soft and most the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to low and stir in arugula.

For the shrimp skewers, have the basil ready to skewer with the shrimp. You will place the skewer through the base of the tail, come out on the other side of the shrimp, skewer the basil leaf, and then skewer the shrimp again at the head.

Set up the shrimp skewers in this order: Bell pepper, shrimp (with basil leaf), tomato, shrimp, tomato, shrimp, bell pepper. Brush the skewers with remaining marinade and broil 2 minutes on the first side; flip, brush with additional marinade, and broil one more minute. Remove from oven.

To serve, place half a cup of the rice on a plate. Add a tomato slice on the rice (if desired), then top with the mushroom saute. Place one shrimp skewer on the dish and finish with a squeeze of lime. Serves 4.

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