Shrimp Catalan – Dish #2 Celebrates Rome

Early on in my blog’s existence, I wrote about a little cooking adventure beginning with ricotta gnocchi.  In the post, I mentioned that it was one of three new dishes I had made, so I thought I would follow up with the second dish!  I was inspired to go on this Italian cooking spree after watching an episode of the Kitchen Boss called, Rome Anniversary.  Buddy Valastro, known primarily as the Cake Boss, but also as the Kitchen Boss on TLC, featured some of his favorite meals from a family vacation in Rome.  I was particularly intrigued by the entrée, Shrimp Catalan.

Catalan relates to the people, language, or culture of Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain.  The Catalan language is a Romance language spoken by people in Catalan and bordering Mediterranean regions of Spain, Italy, and France.  Recipes from the Catalan culture have influenced and been influenced by these regions as well.  Typical foods include a variety of fish, shrimp, mussels, squid, and octopus, as well as venison, rabbit, pork, and rice.  Some of the most common dishes, for example, are salt cod fritters, paella, and seafood stew.  Mushrooms and local truffles are common as well and don’t forget to try Crema Catalana for dessert!  (You can visit “Spanish Food World”  for this information and more.)

Shrimp Catalan is similar to seafood stew, but shrimp play the starring role in a sea of diced tomatoes!  To start, saute 1/2 large onion, finely chopped, and 1 clove of minced garlic in large skillet.  I used butter for this, but olive oil would have been even better!  Add sliced baby bella mushrooms (for substance and texture in lieu of pimientos and ham) and cook until soft.  Once the onions and mushrooms are soft and the garlic is slightly brown (~5 minutes or so), pour in 1 can of crushed or diced red tomatoes and 1/2 cup white wine.  Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the shrimp – plus 4 Tbls of Brandy and chopped fresh parsley, if desired – stirring occasionally and heating gently for 4-5 minutes or until just cooked through.

Time to mangiare! (that’s “eat” in Italian)  Squeeze some lemon over top and grab piece of crusty bread to go with this warm, flavorful, and romantic shrimp catalan.

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