Herbed Baby Shrimp with Easy Pumpkin Puree

Gently sauteed pumpkin pairs well with fresh herbs and crunchy baby shrimp.

Well, it's certainly been a while since my last post!  I won't deny that I was slightly discouraged; six months and 85 recipes later, I had gotten almost no feedback from readers, and therefore decided to throw in the towel.  I was ecstatic, however, to find emails the other day from a few readers who had made and enjoyed some of these recipes.  I am so thrilled to learn that the posts on this site make their way into other peoples homes and help to provide a good meal.

So, thank you to the readers (hopefully you know who you are) who gave me some feedback and the confidence to continue writing and posting recipes.  I hope I haven't lost you after a 7-month hiatus!

Now on to the recipe of the day:  firstly I would just like to say that it is extremely cold in Paris right now, and while some people really enjoy snow, I am not one of them.  But of course I try to make the best of it, and indulge in the little pleasures that cold weather provides.  A big winter treat for me is making soups and purees, often with vegetables like pumpkin, celery root, leeks, potatoes, and broccoli.  The recipe today features slowly sauteed pumpkin, which after about 30 minutes over heat develops a delicious sweetness that goes so well with its natural, nutty flavor.  Pumpkin in this recipe is particularly easy to use because there is no electric mixer involved - the trick is to get the pumpkin so soft that you can easily mash it with a fork.

A note of advice: I am not sure where you live or how pumpkin is sold in your area.  In Paris, it is often sold in wedges, so that people don't have to go home with a giant pumpkin and a lack of imagination for what to do with it all.  Hopefully you can find pumpkin sold this way, otherwise you should be able to find pumpkin that has already been peeled and cubed (not as much flavor in these pre-cut pumpkins, but we'll take what we can get, right?)

A second note: I'm adding this paragraph after having already published this post, but a reader wrote to me yesterday asking if he could substitute banana squash for the pumpkin, as he can't easily find pumpkin wedges where he lives.  I am glad he reminded me because I wanted to mention this before: if you can't find pumpkin wedges, than I would of course suggest using any other vegetable in the squash and pumpkin family.  Pumpkin develops a natural sweet flavor as it cooks, so if you find that other vegetables, such as butternut or curry red squash, don't achieve this, you can add a tablespoon or so of brown sugar and that should do the trick.

Lastly, if you can only get large wedges, I would recommend sauteeing all of the vegetable, because you can save the remainder and eat it as a snack or with sauteed or steamed chicken breast or white fish another night.  I've written more than I would like about pumpkin and its usage, but I hope you have found this information useful!

Enjoy this recipe and your weekend, wishing you a happy December from snowy Paris.

Herbed Baby Shrimp with Easy Pumpkin Puree - serves one

1 tablespoon sunflower, grapeseed, or canola oil
350 g/ 10-12 ounces fresh pumpkin, outer layer well peeled and cut into rough cubes
salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
110 g/ 3.5 ounces baby shrimp
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan (optional)

1.  Heat the sunflower oil in a medium or large saute pan over medium-high heat.
2.  Add the pumpkin and a pinch of salt.  Stir the pumpkin to toss with the oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the pumpkin is very tender, about 30-35 minutes.  If after 20 minutes you find that the pumpkin is not softening, cover the pan with a lid for 10 minutes or more to allow the pumpkin cubes to steam.
3.  Once very tender, place pumpkin in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
4. In a different bowl, combine the parsley and olive oil.  Add the shrimp and toss to combine. 
5.  Heat a small fryng pan over medium-high heat, and cook the shrimp until done, about 2-3 minutes.
6.  Place the pumpkin in a dish or bowl, and top with srhimp.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired.


Eliza said...

Thank you so much for coming back!

Ashley Fahr said...

My lovie, I am so glad to be back! And thank you for making comments, it makes me so happy :)

CC said...

Ashley, My friend Nic and I found your blog and we think it's fantastic. We too have a blog dedicated to cooking for one..although, we have a lot of work to do to catch up with you (www.cooksforone.com)...I hope you don't mind, but I actually did a post on your blog on our site just this week. I mentioned you hadn't updated in awhile, but I'll go back and say "she's back with gusto", unless you want me to take it down. Hopefully, it will drive some (if only a little) more traffic to your site.

Ashley Fahr said...

Hi CC,

Thanks so much for your message, it's always nice to hear from people who are working on similar projects as myself.

I also really appreciate that you wrote about my site - I spent a lot of time on it and it's so rewarding to see that other people are reading and enjoying it. I saw that you commented on your post, mentioning that I'm back - so thank you for that!

Hope you had a nice trip to Paris, it really is a great city.


yasmin said...

Looks delicious, can't wait to try it! Glad to see you back in action!

Amu Ali said...

I have been following your recipes and have enjoyed them a great deal. They are very exotic and you can't find any of them in other cook books. So glad you picked up the pen again so to speak.

Amu Ali said...

Picture of the Paris pastry shop you just added to your website makes me miss Paris so much more. Is that your local shop?

Ashley Fahr said...

Amu Ali-
That was my local shop when I lived in the 15th arrondissement last year. However as you know, Paris is full of boulangeries and pastry shops that have window displays such as that one, so even in the 3rd arrondissement I don't have to travel very far to get my hands on such delicious treats!

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