I came across this recipe a few weeks ago when my mom gave me Plenty. Both Elspeth and my mom have been raving about Jerusalem, the sister cookbook to Plenty, so I knew I was in for a treat. I sat down to flip through and bookmark the recipes I wanted to try immediately. Apparently I need to try all of them.
Plenty is filled with page after page of beautiful photography and mouth-watering recipes, all vegetarian. I finally settled on black pepper tofu as a jumping off point, and I'm glad I did. It was simple and delicious, especially served over wilted greens and rice, and it has a warmth to it that is perfect for spring evenings.
While the original recipe calls for crispy fried tofu, my tofu-frying skills are not up to par and I opted to use shrimp instead. I'm sure it would be fabulous with tofu as well, or really any protein. Feel free to add more or less spice, depending on your preference. I toned the original recipe down a bit, as my taste buds can't handle the heat of eight chiles.
BLACK PEPPER SHRIMP
The Maine shrimp season is over now, but many places still sell it frozen. This dish is delicious with rice and wilted greens - I used kale and spinach, but whatever you have on hand will work.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled
5 to 6 tablespoons butter
3 fresh red chiles, thinly sliced
6 large garlic cloves, diced or crushed
2 medium shallots, diced
3 tablespoons diced fresh ginger
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons crushed black pepper (I used a spice grinder)
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1 to 2 inch segments
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add shrimp and cook until pink on both sides. When shrimp are cooked, remove them from the frying pan and set them aside.
Add butter to frying pan and melt it. Add chiles, garlic, shallots, and ginger. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until ingredients are soft. Stir in soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Add green onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, covered, allowing them to soften a bit.
Add the cooked shrimp to the butter and soy mixture, mixing well so all pieces are covered in sauce.