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With the waters of the Adriatic lapping its coastline, Friuli Venezia-Giulia’s sparkling sea affords a bounty of fresh seafood, including a species of very large shrimp, almost tiny lobsters, not found in American waters. Having just returned from a few weeks in Africa coupled with a snowstorm outside my door, I was craving something comforting and familiar for dinner last night. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare shrimp. Substituting extra large shrimp for those found in the sea off Friuli works beautifully.
I have been told that “Buzara” translates to “stew” in Croatian but generally represents seafood cooked with garlic, wine and breadcrumbs. I actually had visions, cravings, dreams of this dish on the flight back and this version from Friuli’s own Lidia Bastianich provided just the comfort and familiarity I craved. Do not even think about taking the shells off the shrimp – it adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this finger-licking sauce. Simply uncork the vino, roll up the shirt sleeves and serve with oodles of crusty bread to soak up the marvelous sauce. Enjoy!
Shrimp Buzara Style (Gamberoni alla Buzara)
From: Lidia’s Favorite Recipes
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients and Directions:
•2 pounds super large shrimp (if you can find them; if not, use extra large)
•1 tablespoon tomato paste
•1 cup hot light fish stock
•¼ cup olive oil
•½ cup finely chopped onion
•2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
•1 cup dry white wine
•1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
•1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Special Equipment: A large skillet or pot large enough to hold all the shrimp and sauce; a medium sized saucepan
1.Using poultry shears or a sharp paring knife, cut through the outer curve of the shrimp shells from end to end, but don’t remove the shells. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, and devein.
2.Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot stock. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté over moderately high heat until golden. Season with salt and pepper, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Add the stock-and-tomato-paste mixture, reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes.
3.Meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet, add the shrimp, and sauté (in two or three batches) 1 minutes on each side. Drain off the oil, return all the shrimp to the skillet, and add the sauce. Cover, and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parsley, mix well, and cook a minute longer, uncovered. Serve immediately.
Note: You can easily make your own fish stock although I purchased mine. My brother discussed how to make your own fish stock in his last post.
If you buy fish broth, it is likely very concentrated. You’ll have to be the judge based on the broth’s color and taste. I diluted a 2 cup container of broth with water to make 6 cups and it worked perfectly.
You can also make your own stock. Using fish heads and bones is the standard method but these can be difficult to find (go to an Asian market if you can). Alternatively, buy unpeeled shrimp with the heads on.
Remove the shrimp heads and add to a pot. Shell the shrimp and add the shells to the stock pot. Search your refrigerator and pantry for stock vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, parsley stems, leeks, other green leaf vegetables) and add some to the stock pot. Cover with water, bring to a near-boil, then reduce and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain the stock through a very fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Add salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to go!
Photo courtesy of Michele Becci - ouritaliantable.com