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  Baked Pesto Shrimp



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2 cups fresh basil leaves (try lemon basil—it complements the flavor of the lemon zest)
1/2 cup pine nuts
2-4 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled
Pinch of salt (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

At least one hour before serving, puree basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic cloves and lemon zest in a food processor
or blender until a chunky paste is formed.
Add olive oil while machine is running, using just enough to form a loose paste.
Scoop into a heavy duty ziptop plastic bag and add peeled shrimp.
Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, and “massage” bag until all shrimp are thoroughly coated with pesto.
Place in refrigerator to marinate until ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange shrimp in one layer on a baking pan.
Bake until pink and just firm—about 5 minutes.
The shrimp continue to cook when removed from oven, so be careful not to overcook.
Add salt and peppers, if desired.
Serve immediately.
Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Serve atop a bed of raw arugula, cooked brown rice or angel hair pasta.
May be garnished with grated hard cheese, such as parmesan,
but the pesto flavor is more distinct without added cheese.
Try it with a squeeze of lemon juice instead!

Copyright © 2012 Stefanie Samara Hamblen