Do you have at least a few cookbooks that are actually quite good but you don’t turn to often enough, and for no good reason at that? I realized this was the case on Saturday while flipping through our copy of Gordan Ramsay’s Fast Food in search of an easy recipe for the week: it’s been ages since I cracked it open and looked through it, and I couldn’t tell you why that was the case. The layout is kind of strange–meal menus are interspersed with five recipes that fit within arbitrary categories–and some of the photos aren’t as gorgeous as one expects with food photography these days, but it hardly matters because the recipes are good and incredibly adaptable. Two are already in our regular rotation, and when the weekend rolls around and I’m planning for another Tuesday dinner, I’m going to make sure that more are at least given a proper tryout in the future.
The tequila-orange shrimp might the fastest recipe in the book: sear the shrimp for two minutes or so on each side with some garlic and oil, add a little tequila and orange juice, and create a glaze. That’s it. I know there is a contingent of people who are not predisposed to think well of Ramsay thanks to his on-air persona (especially on his US shows), but I can assure you that beneath the blowhard exterior is a chef who gets food. He may bark on and on about making simple fare using the best ingredients when he’s on television, but he stays true to that message on the page. And the results are incredible.
As for the quinoa salad: I like quinoa well enough, but it’s not my favorite whole grain. But I wanted something satisfying that was filled with protein before I worked out, and this was practically perfect. The only think I’d change is adding more crushed red pepper or fresh chiles (had I had any more on hand) because this little grain can absorb a lot of flavor, and plenty of heat keeps this dish interesting.
Shrimp with Tequila, Orange, and Garlic
adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food
- 12 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
- 4 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Generous splash tequila
- Juice of an orange
Add olive oil to a large skillet, and warm over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic and the shrimp, season with the salt and crushed red pepper, and pan-fry for two minutes. Flip them and sear for another minute and a half or so, or until pink. Remove from heat, and deglaze with the tequila. Add the orange juice and then add back to the heat, letting the juice reduce slightly into a glaze that can coat the shrimp. Take off heat, put into a bowl, and serve immediately.
Black Bean, Avocado, and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
- 1-2 jalapenos, diced (keep seeds in)
- 1 avocado, diced
- Juice of one lemon
- Crushed red pepper
Soak quinoa in a generous amount of water in a saucepan for fifteen minutes. (Use this time to devein the shrimp.) Drain the quinoa into a sieve, then add back to the saucepan and add the 1 1/2 cup water to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce that to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Add beans, chiles, avocado, lemon juice, salt, and crushed red pepper to taste and serve either warm, at room temperature or even cold.