Let the sauce take center stage
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by Lynda Balslev
It’s not fair to say that this recipe is all about the chermoula sauce. After all, shrimp and kale are equal heavyweights in this dish. It’s just that the chermoula sauce does something wicked to it.
Chermoula, as you may know, is a fragrant North African slurry of fresh herbs, citrus and spices. It’s typically used as a marinade for fish, but it’s also delicious with meat, chicken and roasted vegetables. In fact, it’s so good, you might be tempted to eat it with a spoon or swipe a hunk of bread through it and call it a snack.
Chermoula adds great flavor and zing to anything it graces, which is why you should include it in your sauce repertoire. And by “sauce,” I mean a whole lot of ingredients that get blitzed in a food processor to a salsa consistency, so there are no complicated or time-consuming techniques involved to achieve this delicious condiment.
This recipe involves a simple two-step process. The kale gets a head start in the oven to allow the hearty leaves to wilt slightly, then a pile of chermoula-glistening shrimp is spread over the kale and returned to the oven. This process ensures that the kale and shrimp finish cooking at the same time, and the chermoula and shrimp juices will have time to baste the kale as it continues to wilt. Serve it immediately with crusty bread or garlic bread for soaking up the pan juices and layer- ing the roasted kale and shrimp on top, if you are so inclined.
Chermoula Shrimp and Kale Bake
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1to 1 1/2 pounds (15/18) jumbo shrimp, deveined, shells removed, tails optional
1 bunch lacinato or curly green kale, tough ribs removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lemon, plus additional wedges for serving
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place all of the chermoula ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the 1/4 cup oil and process to blend. The chermoula should have a loose salsa consistency. If needed, add more oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and add a little more salt, if desired.
Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Add half of the chermoula sauce and stir to coat. The shrimp should be evenly coated but not doused. Add additional chermoula as needed to coat. Set aside any remaining chermoula for drizzling.
Tear the kale leaves into large, coarse pieces and place in a separate bowl. Lightly drizzle with oil, about 1 tablespoon. Squeeze a quarter lemon over the kale and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Using your fingers, mix the kale to coat, gently rubbing the oil into the leaves. Spread the kale in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or sheet pan. Bake in the oven until the leaves begin to wilt, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and spread the shrimp over the kale. Lightly brush a little more chermoula over the kale and shrimp. (Any remaining chermoula can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)
Return the baking dish to the oven and cook until the shrimp are bright in color and opaque through the centers, 11 to 14 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Serve warm with lemon wedges and crusty bread or garlic bread.