Will you look at this dish? Pan seared shrimps tossed with herbs and spices, served over a creamy, luscious yellow split pea puree and paired with lemony parsley pesto. This is a vibrant, bursting with Mediterranean flavor dish that is seriously filling, quite simple to fix up and delightful to eat.
In all seriousness, I have never thought of pan seared shrimps and split peas together and I am so excited I made this combo. The shrimps are a touch garlicky and lightly spicy, the split pea puree provides the perfect amount of earthy flavor and the parsley pesto brings perfectly all the flavors together. It turned out beautifully and I have been using the same recipe ever since.
As spring begins to really bloom and Easter is here, it is the perfect time to relax, spend time with friends, family and enjoy glorious, traditional and festive food as well. Because Easter is the biggest holiday for the religious Greeks. The 40 day period of fasting and praying is over and they are more than ready and eager to celebrate while drinking, dancing and … of course eating! Meat is the centerpiece of the Greek Easter table but there are countless delicious side dishes, salads, pies and desserts as well. It’s the food paradise, I assure you.
That being said, a few days before festive dinners full of huge meat platters, I thought that a pan seared shrimp recipe would be just perfect. Why?
First of all, you love shrimps. Of course, you do! Secondly, it’s springtime, so you crave for lighter, vegetable-filled and easy to make meals. Perfect! Then, you need something to go along with the shrimps. Pasta is certainly the easiest way but, you guys, you want something different and bolder, food wise. That’s why you are here in the first place. So, my recommendation to enjoy pan seared shrimp is a Greek favorite called “fava” which basically is a delicious split pea puree.
Yellow and green split peas, beans and lentils belong to the legume family and they are the edible seeds of legume plants. We all know that beans are healthy because they contain fiber and antioxidants and they are an excellent source of non-animal, fat-free protein. Now, all you have to do is make my Greek fava recipe so you can taste its amazing flavor and texture.
In my mind, fava is probably the Greek answer to the Italian polenta. Please, don’t take my words the wrong way because I love a good homemade polenta (not the pre-processed kind) but, to tell you the truth, I find 40 minutes of constant stirring too tiring for a midweek meal. On the contrary, fava is a fuss-free dish: boil the split peas with veggies for half an hour and keep an eye the last 10 minutes so that you get the desired consistency. That’s about it!
Oh, did I mention that fava is gluten-free? I know that it is important for many readers. Last but not least, fava is also very make-ahead friendly. You may keep it on the fridge for at least 3 days. Add a bit of water and reheat it on the stove on low heat, until it reaches the desired consistency.
Things are going rather well so far but why not take this pan seared shrimp recipe to the next level? Because fava is a good pairing with lemon and parley. So, do you get my drift? That’s how the simplest and tastier parsley pesto was born. It’s the perfect spring pesto and an excellent alternative (cheaper too) for the traditional basil pesto. Don’t skip this pesto. It literally takes 5 minutes to make and above all, it bursts with flavor.
Don’t forget to pair this pan seared shrimp dish with a nice bottle of white wine like Assyrtiko, Moschofilero and a delicious cabbage salad.
If you make it, I will be thrilled to read your opinion, thoughts, and recommendations. Leave your comment here or tag me on Instagram just to see your Mediterranean inspired dishes. This is my idea of happiness, my friends!
- 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
- 2 tablespoons fennel leaves or dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (200g) yellow split peas
- 5 – 6 cups (1.000– 1.200ml) of water or vegetable broth
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 tablespoons oil olive
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 cups parsley leaves
- 1 fresh lemon
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Start cooking yellow split pea puree and meanwhile, sear the shrimps and make the parsley pesto.
- FOR YELLOW SPLIT PEA PUREE
- Place the split peas in a bowl, pour tap water. Wait for 2-3 minutes and rinse them with plenty of water. Repeat until the water is crystal clear. Drain and transfer to a pot.
- In a big pot over high heat, add 4 cups out of 6 (800ml out of 1.200ml) of water or vegetable broth, shredded carrot, sliced onion, oil olive, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove with a spoon the white foam that usually surfaces. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer. It takes more or less half an hour for the initial amount of liquid to be absorbed. Add salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Add gradually more water or broth, turn down the heat and stir until split peas are very tender and the texture is similar to a thick soup. At that point, stir quite often. It takes more or less 30-40 minutes (cooking time depends on the product).
- Remove from heat. Put the mixture in a food processor and mix until smooth and creamy, like a puree.
- FOR THE SHRIMPS
- Season shrimp to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes and then the shrimp and fennel leaves. Don’t overcrowd the pan because the shrimps will steam instead of roast properly.* Sear shrimp until golden and opaque, about 1-3 minutes on each side (have to see the note below).* Don’t overcook them. Remove from heat.
- FOR PARSLEY PESTO
- Rinse the parsley well and pat it dry with a towel. Cut off the ends of the parsley stems and place the leaves in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon juice and pulse until the mixture is lightly minced. Add the olive oil in a thin stream and blend until combined. Season to taste.
2. Cooking time depends on the size of the shrimp. Roughly, 1 minute on each side for baby shrimp, 2 minutes on each side for medium-size shrimp and 3 minutes for big size shrimp.