You should totally make this for dinner tonight. No, really, you should. It's fast, it's delicious, it dirties only one pan (two, if you decide to make some rice, which I think you should), and it's so simple you can enlist your partner to help with measuring spices and seasoning the shrimp and opening and closing the oven door, proving that one day the two of you might find pleasure together in the kitchen at once. A minor miracle, if you ask me. And possibly my favorite meal of the past month.
Did I mention it was delicious? We ate the whole mess between the two of us, despite the fact that it's meant to serve four. You probably already know how wonderful roasted broccoli is, and if you don't, you should. But did you know just how much roasting shrimp could imbue it with such sweetness and tenderness? I didn't. Those plump, pink curls fairly pop in your mouth. And the combination of shrimp and broccoli, well, the Chinese have long known it to be a felicitous pairing, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before the rest of us caught on, too.
I had to make a few minor changes to the recipe, because I didn't have any whole coriander or cumin. So I halved the amounts and used ground spices instead. I liked the recipe so much that I'm not sure I'd make this any other way again. The ground spices spread out and subtly perfume everything. And then I made the mistake of using the same amount of regular salt instead of kosher salt. If you're going to use kosher salt, fine, follow the recipe. If you're going to use regular salt, go easy (halve it?). You can always add more salt afterwards, if need be.
What I love is how two fairly pedestrian ingredients are combined with a few smart flavorings to incredible effect. The idea to roast, season with Middle Eastern spices, and finish with a Mediterranean double whammy of lemon peel and lemon juice (don't leave out that final squeeze - it's key) is inspired. Further more, it's the kind of thing I wish I saw more often in newspaper food sections: tasty inventiveness that really works for the home cook. I dare say this might become a weekly standard in our house.
Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp
2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.