2015-05-22 / Columns

Fresh, quick and delicious dishes

Cooking on Purpose
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

This is a very exciting time of year. Everything is waking up from a deep sleep, including us. It has been a long winter and finally the weather is warm and breezy.

The flowers are blooming all over town and the vegetables will be here soon, some already are. The farmers market is brimming with fresh local produce.

I have included some recipes this time that utilize some of that fresh produce. I hope you enjoy them.

Herbed shrimp with tomato/ spinach salad

¼ cup flat leaf parsley; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano; 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; ½ teaspoon kosher salt; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ½ teaspoon honey; 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined; 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved; cooking spray; 4 cups baby spinach leaves; ½ cup thinly sliced radicchio; and 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup).

Combine parsley, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and honey in a mini food processor; process until finely chopped. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons parsley mixture and shrimp in a medium bowl; toss to coat.

Combine remaining parsley mixture and tomatoes in a large bowl; toss to coat. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan and grill for 3 minutes. Turn shrimp over and cook 1 minute or until done.

Add spinach and radicchio to tomato mixture and toss to coat. Arrange spinach mixture on a platter. Arrange shrimp on top of spinach mixture and sprinkle with feta.

Serves four.

Stuffed zucchini boats with tomato salad

4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise (about 3 pounds); cooking spray; 1 cup chopped onion; 8 ounces turkey Italian sausage, casings removed (hot or sweet your choice); ¼ teaspoon kosher salt; divided; 1 ½ ounces whole-grain bread, torn into small pieces; 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces and divided; 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil, divided; 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved; ¼ cup thinly sliced basil; 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat broiler to high. Using a spoon, remove zucchini pulp, leaving a 1/4-inchthick shell.

Coarsely chop pulp, reserving 2 cups, discard remaining pulp. Place zucchini halves in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and vent. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; let stand, covered until time to stuff.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Add onion and sausage to pan; cook 4 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble sausage. Stir in reserved 2 cups zucchini pulp. Place zucchini halves on a jelly-roll pan; sprinkle with salt. Divide sausage mixture evenly among zucchini halves.

Place bread in a mini food processor; pulse 5 to 6 times or until coarse crumbs form. Add 2 ounces cheese and 1 teaspoon oil; pulse to combine. Top zucchini halves with bread mixture. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts and bread crumbs begin to brown.

Combine remaining 3 ounces cheese, tomatoes and basil in a bowl; toss to combine. Combine remaining salt and 1 ½ teaspoons oil, vinegar and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over tomato mixture; toss to coat. Serve with zucchini boats.

Serves four.

Cavatappi salad with tuna and olives

6 ounces uncooked cavatappi pasta; 12 ounces green and/or yellow beans, trimmed and halved; 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ¼ teaspoon kosher salt; 2 cups tomato wedges; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano; 20 pitted kalamata olives, halved; 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce; and 5 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add beans and cook an additional 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender and pasta is done.

Drain and rinse under cold water; drain.

While pasta water comes to a boil, combine oil, juice, pepper and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomato, oregano and olives; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in pasta mixture and lettuce. Divide among four plates; top evenly with tuna.

Serves four.

Now you are ready for fresh, quick and delicious. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose. Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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