Gamberoni E Fagioli –
Regarding regional Italian cooking, you can’t get more authentic than Tuscan style beans. These beans are white, often Cannellini, prepared with olive oil, sage or rosemary, a little red pepper flakes and—away we go. They are just that simple. You might think – what’s the big deal? The big deal is that when certain ingredients converge, no matter how simple it sounds, the results can be close to perfection. I’ve said it often, “Italians love their beans!” While that may be true – the Tuscans revere them! They are most often the side of choice with the famous Florentine grilled steak (Bistecca Alla Fiorentina) – the only way to grill steak in my opinion.
This time, instead, of serving the beans with meat, we are off to the coast for a dinner of fresh catch! The dish we tackle in this post, GRILLED SHRIMP AND TUSCAN BEANS is a special one, not because you spend hours in the kitchen preparing it – because you won’t. Shrimp and Beans—really?? Trust me on this one – it is a dynamite entrée – made to order for al fresco dining and worthy of fine restaurant dining. However, it just might be the one dish, you’ll want to serve guests and family again and again, especially during the warmer months.
You will not believe how well the shellfish pairs with the beans. The shrimp (the bigger, the better!) are barely cooked – marinated first, and then seared on the grill quickly – a couple of minutes each side. The beans can be the dried variety which you soak overnight, if you want to go to the trouble. Have at it! But – in this case – the canned cannellini beans are just great as long as they are rinsed well and drained. Once they cook for just a few minutes – they become almost creamy tasting.
Along with the creamy beans we’ll add fresh sweet tiny tomatoes which will balance the dish with a little acidity. You won’t believe how perfect this combination of ingredients and flavors can be – not to mention, healthy too. I’m excited just talking about it! I really LOVE this dish!
Sound like one of those “peasant” dishes again? You bet it is – not only in its simplicity – but also in respect to the high regard in this dish given to fresh herbs and mostly fresh ingredients.
I listened to a conversation the other day – where someone said they were trying a dish for the first time with fresh ingredients to see if there was a difference. Really? Do we think it’s actually possible that those herbs that sit in little tin cans in our pantries for months (sometimes years – shudder) taste just like the fresh ones from our gardens and markets? I know the answer to that one – but – hmmm…I’ll let you be the judge.
Here we go – a peasant dish, with authentic roots, from the heart of Tuscany, all dressed up, with some fresh grilled shrimp. Let ‘s cast our nets and hope for bounty!
GRILLED SHRIMP AND TUSCAN BEANS
Prep: 20 minutes + 2-3 hours to marinate the shrimp
Cook: about 15 minutes
1 1/4 lb. Large fresh shrimp, cleaned with shells removed
Marinade for Shrimp:
1/3 C. Olive Oil
1 Large Fresh Clove Garlic – chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary Leaves
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – chopped
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1 Generous squeeze fresh Lemon Juice
1/3 C. Dry White Wine
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste (the salt will bring out the flavor in the marinade)
2 14 oz. Cans Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary Leaves
1 C. Fresh Ripe Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half – Note: these little tomatoes will hold their shape better than large tomatoes in this dish.
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary for garnish
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
Add your shrimp to the bowl and mix well, covering all the shrimp.
Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
When ready to grill – pour off the marinade and grill both sides of shrimp for a couple of minutes each side only. Do not over cook the shrimp. You want them crunchy and juicy – not dry and tough!
Make sure to rinse and drain the beans.
Place them in a pot or pan with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, Rosemary leaves, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir gentle, heating through – about 10 minutes. During this time, the tomatoes will soften.
For each dish, spoon some of the Tuscan Beans on the plate. Place some shrimp on the top and garnish with fresh Rosemary sprigs.
This wonderful GRILLED SHRIMP AND TUSCAN BEANS is just screaming for a crisp dry Falanghina or an Arneis! Now, without missing a beat, hit the patio!
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography