I discovered fresh fennel as an adult, after getting over my aversion to anything licorice. I still can’t eat red or black licorice candy but have fallen head over for this anise-scented, bulbous vegetable. I also make salads with it, tossing in whole grain mustard and rice vinegar but this spicy, garlic-y shrimp and fennel recipe is go-to weeknight deliciousness for us. Since fennel can be awkward to slice, cut the bulb in half and place the flat part on the cutting board for leverage. From there, a really sharp 8-inch chef’s knife will help a lot. So simple, you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Buy peeled and deveined shrimp and it will save even more time.
Because of the lime juice and light, succulent shrimp, pair this recipe with tart, citrusy Sauvignon Blancs like this one from Dry Creek Vineyards or a California Pinot Gris like this one from J Vineyards and Winery.
This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light Magazine.
Spicy Shrimp with Fennel
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning mix (if you don’t have this on hand, use your favorite spice rub)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (buy one that weighs about a pound since you won’t use the stems and leaves)
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few turns of the pepper mill
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (not minced)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with Cajun seasoning.
2. Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add fennel, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaf. Cook 5 minutes or until fennel is crisp tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Add red pepper, Italian seasoning and shrimp to pan. Cook until shrimp are done (no longer translucent) about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Serve immediately.