I do most of my food shopping at a store called Fairway. My daughter’s school is part of their community partners program which means I have a laminated card they swipe during checkout and BAM a portion of my sale goes to her school. So great and easy, right? Yet another reason to love Fairway.
This week, as I was checking out, the man behind me noticed my cashier swiping my card and asked, “What discount is that?” and I said “What?” because if someone speaks to me in public and I’m not expecting them to speak to me I NEVER hear them on the first try. It’s weird. Does that happen to you? What is that about? Anyway, he repeated “What discount is that?” and my cashier explained “It’s not a discount, it’s a community partners thing.” To which he replied, to ME, straight to my face, looking me in the eye “Oh. Too bad. I thought they started honoring senior citizens discounts on Mondays, now.”
I don’t think he was trying to be mean. I think he was actually trying to commiserate with me. I think the man had no doubt whatsoever that I would be eligible for a senior citizens discount and would agree that Fairway should honor it 7 days a week.
The old me (maybe I should go with “former?” The former me?) would have tried to sound jovial and good natured while getting a good jab back at him. Something like, “Hahaha. I think it’s time to see your eye doctor. Hahaha.” But I am newly equipped with a secret weapon against this Fairway man and his kind so I merely smiled, raised my chin and scurried home to whip up something delectable.
That something was a cilantro pesto shrimp bake.
Despite the thirty degree weather and forecast for snow, I went with something light and bright and utterly optimistic. Calendar-wise spring is right around the corner. Maybe it just needs a little encouragement.
Don’t we all?
For the pesto, I used the recipe I found at Real Simple. I was concerned that the sesame oil would dominate the taste but, in the end, I found it nicely balanced.
I spread about half the pesto on the bottom of the baking dish, mixed in some vermouth and layered the shrimp on top. Then I spooned the rest of the pesto over the shrimp and topped it off with some panko bread crumbs. Into the oven it went…
…and ten minutes later…
voilà. I served it with sautèèd spinach and red quinoa. My husband kept saying, “Oh, this is so good. It’s like something you’d get at a little bistro on a side street in Paris!” Unfortunately, in our house, the ultimate compliment is still that it tastes like it’s from a restaurant. I’ll know I’ve “made it” when we eat out and one of my children says, “Oh, mommy, this is so good. It’s like something you would make!” I’m working on it.
- 1 batch of cilantro pesto
- 1 T of dry white vermouth
- 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on (you could use more shrimp, there’s enough pesto to cover roughly 2lbs. If you just do 1lb you’ll have lots of sauce to spoon over the finished dish.)
- a handful of panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Spread half the pesto on the bottom of the baking dish
- mix the vermouth into the pesto in the dish
- layer the shrimp in the dish
- spoon remainder of pesto on top of the shrimp
- top with breadcrumbs
- bake for 10 minutes until pink