August 29, 2007

Green and Garlicky

While in Los Angeles for work in April, I was fortunate enough to nab a stool at the pizza bar at Mario Batali’s fabulously popular joint pizza venture, Pizzeria Mozza. [“Fortunate” being the operative word, considering there are reportedly hour-long waits at the minimum to get a seat for more than two people here on most evenings. As a single diner -- who paid a ridiculous cab fare to get to the restaurant – I got a seat within 1 minute of arriving.]

Prior to downing what was an excellent pizza topped with, as I recall, some salami, red onion, and dried chili, I had as my appetizer some brick-oven flamed fava beans topped with grated parmesan and speck, a prosciutto-like cured meat that I need to have again, soon.

Since then, I’ve been hoping to duplicate that appetizer. Fava beans, it turns out, are hard to find, as is speck. For the last month or so, however, our illustrious CSA has had these remarkably long, hardy green beans called Kentucky Wonder Beans. So, no fava beans or speck, but I had Kentucky Wonder Beans and prosciutto, and that was good enough for me.

I also had a packed container of baby arugula – from, I readily admit, the grocery store (double gasp!) – that was coming up on its expiration date. And being the pesto freak that I am, arugula pesto seemed like a no-brainer.

Thus was born last Saturday’s dinner, a delightful, reflux-inducing feast. Admittedly, there are enough similarities in the ingredients used in the entrée and the side that they might not make the ideal pairing. The beans would probably go better with a grilled New York strip or a bold piece of fish, and the shrimp would go very well with a light tomato salad.

Nevertheless, we really enjoyed them together.

Grilled Shrimp on an Arugula Pesto Bed and Grilled Kentucky Wonder Beans al Forno with Prosciutto


  • 2 cups of well-washed arugula [Note: baby arugula, in my experience, is far more mild than its large-leaved brethren. So if using the latter, just be aware it may be quite strong.]
  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • Half cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • 3-4 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts [Walnuts or hazelnuts would be great, if not preferable]
  • 1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of high-quality olive oil


  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Swirl of olive oil
  • Shake or two of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • (Some lemon zest would be good, too)

Green beans

  • ¾ to 1 lb of green beans
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • ¼ pound of prosciutto, roughly cut
To make the pesto... Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a large food processor. Turn on food processor and slowly add the olive oil in a stream until the mixture starts to look almost creamy, approximately 20-30 seconds.

Turn the grill on to medium-high heat

For the shrimp... Combine the shrimp with the olive oil, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Put shrimp on 2 or 3 skewers.

For the green beans... Combine green beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl and mix well. Place foil on half of grill and spread beans out so they are evenly layered. Cook until you start to see a little char on some of the beans, but they still have a nice crunch. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and combine with a little parmesan and the prosciutto.

About 5 minutes into grilling the beans, put the shrimp on the other half of the grill. Cook until one side is just turning pink, then turn and cook until entirely pink. Approximately 4-5 minutes maximum.

Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of the pesto on a plate, top with 6 shrimp and place a hefty portion of beans on the side.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Not only recipes but pictures as well....Have you been in touch with any publications that would feature your articles?? Maybe,,,,when you retire and have some time.