Will you look at this dish? Mediterranean pan-seared shrimp 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 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 shrimp 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, and family and, of course, enjoy glorious, traditional, and festive food.
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 like moussaka, stuffed eggplant, kleftiko lamb.
Nevertheless, there are countless delicious side dishes (like tzatziki), salads (like Greek salad (horiatiki), pies (like the famous spinach pie), and desserts (like the all-time favorite galaktoboureko (custard pie). It’s the food paradise, I assure you.
WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE?
First of all, you love shrimp. Of course, you do! Secondly, it’s springtime, so you crave lighter, vegetable-filled, and easy-to-make meals. Perfect! Then, you need something to go along with the shrimp. Pasta is certainly the easiest way but, you guys, 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.
MEDITERRANEAN PAN-SEARED SHRIMP: THE RECIPE
SPLIT PEA PUREE (GREEK FAVA)
Yellow and green split peas, beans, chickpeas, 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 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: simmer the split peas with veggies for half an hour and keep an eye on 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 and temperature (it is delicious at room temperature). You are ready to go.
THE PARSLEY PESTO
Things are going rather well so far but why not take this pan-seared shrimp recipe to the next level?
Because fava is an excellent pairing with lemon and parsley. That’s how the simplest and tastier parsley pesto was born. It’s the perfect spring pesto and an excellent alternative to the traditional basil pesto (WAY cheaper too). Don’t skip this parsley pesto. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to assemble and above all, it bursts with exquisite flavor.
MY PAN-SEARED SHRIMP IS READY! NOW, WHAT?
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!
If you have already made this Mediterranean Pan-seared shrimp, I would be super grateful to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #30daysofgreekfood and Facebook with @30daysofgreekfood! Above all, I absolutely love your feedback. This is a huge motivation for me and it keeps 30daysofgreekfood’s kitchen alive. Thank you so much!!!
Mediterranean Pan-Seared Shrimp with Split Pea Puree and Parsley Pesto
- 1 lb shrimp peeled, deveined
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed
- 2 tablespoons fennel leaves or dill
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper Freshly ground
SPLIT PEAS (FAVA)
- 1 cup (200g) yellow split peas
- 4-5cups (1-1,2 liter) water or vegetable broth
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon cumin ground
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper freshly ground
- 2 cups parsley finely chopped
- 1 lemon the juice
- 5 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper freshly ground
YELLOW SPLIT PEA PUREE
- Place the split peas in a bowl and pour in 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 5 (1 liter out of 1.2) of water or vegetable broth, the carrot, the onion, olive oil, 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 this point, stir quite often for about 10 minutes. Cooking time depends on the product.
- Remove from heat. Put the mixture in a food processor (or blender) and mix until smooth and creamy, like a puree.
- 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 or dill leaves. Don’t overcrowd the pan because the shrimp will steam instead of roast properly.*1 Sear shrimp until golden and opaque, about 1-3 minutes on each side (see the note below).*2 Don’t overcook them. Remove from heat.
- Rinse the parsley well and gently 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.