Aside from the idea that this is a fresh and spanking-clean new year (really, what’s different between this Tuesday and last, besides a new calendar on my wall?), mostly in January I want to eat more cleanly, with more of the veggies I’ve so woefully neglected for the past month or two. Since around Halloween, really, and then there were those almost two weeks spent in Jasper, where there was salad, but mostly morning pastries and buffets and martinis and chocolate and cheese. And then it was winter and Christmastime, and wait.. I’m not coming up with a valid excuse here, am I?
And today, back at my desk and forced to answer phone calls and emails, and open that stack of mail from the bank and Revenue Canada (which they always seem to send on Fridays or right before Christmas, or on the Friday right before Christmas), I feel like I should also be eating my broccoli.
And so I took it as an opportunity to try a recipe I’ve been meaning to give a go – and served it in shallow dishes I unearthed from the basement (in an attempt to declutter) that were a wedding gift in 1994 and I’ve maybe used once. I’m going to use them now. 1994!! The New Year is supposed to be all about newness and possibility, but every year it winds up being a bit like a mini midlife crisis.
In a good way, of course. I’m happy to be here, to be ringing in 2012 with those I love, even though technically I was in the bathroom at midnight. The collective lull of the holidays allows enough of a breather to take a look at life and which steps to take (or not) next. What I want to spend my time and money and energies on. To talk myself out of starting too many new things, or to be too fearful of same. And to be thankful that we get the luxury of choice.
Would it be too much to ask for a longer lull, so I can start the new year being able to see my desktop? And although I still wonder why eating broccoli should be so much more virtuous than eating shortbread, at least it makes life seem more tacklable when you feel less Jabba-the-Hutt-ish.
If you time it right, the rice will cook in exactly the same amount of time as the broccoli and shrimp take to roast. If you go ahead and toss the lemon wedges onto the pan too they’ll get all roasted and squishy, and you’ll be able to squeeze far more of the juice and soft pulp over your shrimp and broccoli, if you like that sort of thing. Be warned roasted lemon wedges have more give than a raw one; Mike doused the front of his AC/DC T-shirt in lemon guts.
Spicy Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli
Adapted from The New York Times and The Wednesday Chef by way of Everybody Likes Sandwiches – this recipe gets around.
2 large heads of broccoli
3-4 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
salt & freshly ground black pepper
10-20 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 lemon, zested and then cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 425F.
Toss the broccoli with about 2 tablespoons of oil, the cumin, coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of the chili flakes, and half the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining chili flakes, salt and pepper, olive oil and the lemon zest. Cut the lemon lengthwise into quarters.
Spread the broccoli out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, add the lemon wedges if you like, and roast for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 8-10 minutes more – just until the shrimp are opaque. Serve over rice, with a squeeze of lemon. Serves 2.