weeknight perfect: hot honey shrimp

When Laura and I were together last week, one of the (millions!) of things we talked about is how hard we sometimes find weeknight meal planning. And not even large scale let’s figure out the whole week meal planning, but the much more basic what’s for dinner tonight?!? question. We marveled at how our mothers managed to just DO IT, seemingly without the angst that we both feel sometimes. We talked about the weird combo of things that make planning tricky, and did some brainstorming about what can make it easier. One of the things that definitely helps me is having a growing roster of simple weeknight dinners that don’t require too many ingredients or take very long to cook, that I can decide to make in an afternoon and shop for quickly on the way home. Shrimp is the star ingredient in several of our favorite dinners like this, and I’m very happy to add another to the list: hot honey shrimp.

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I haven’t had much experience with the pre-packaged hot honey that started showing up in food trend articles two-ish years ago. I know Laura and Ed have had some they really liked, and if they’re into something I tend to just assume it’s deelish (weirdo bestest note: I know they had some because I remembered an Instagram post of Ed’s…from 83 weeks ago. That’s normal, right?!). And I had a pizza that featured hot honey at a great Italian restaurant in Crown Heights this winter that was enough to convince me it was a genius condiment. This recipe has you making your own, by combing honey and cayenne in the quick marinade. Mine was almost more hot than honey, thanks to some too quick ingredient reading–I doubled the amount of cayenne. Whoops! Luckily, I realized my mistake before I mixed everything, and ended up with a great balance of heat and sweet.

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This is really a fantastically easy recipe, with a wonderfully short ingredient list, most of which you’ll probably already have in your kitchen. It took less time to put together than it took for my oven to heat up, and I have a pretty dang fast oven. Shrimp–that has been patted dry! another step I almost messed up after reading too quickly–is tossed with honey and cayenne, garlic and ginger, lime zest, and salt and pepper. The shrimp are spread out over a baking sheet and each individual one gets a little pat of butter on top. Cook time is just five minutes, and the shrimp are finished off with thinly sliced jalapeño and chives and a squeeze of lime juice.

three stages of shrimp: pre cook, post cook, and garnished.

three stages of shrimp: pre cook, post cook, and garnished.

I can see enjoying this dinner at any time of year, but it feels especially right for summer. It’s worth turning the oven on for, even in the middle of a heatwave. I served it with a quick sauté of cherry tomatoes, zucchini, corn cut from the cob, and a big handful of basil. I let the shrimp hang out in the marinade in the fridge for a bit while I cooked down the tomatoes and zuke, and added corn and basil just a minute or two before the shrimp was ready to come out of the oven. Dinner felt easy and fun, two words that I’d like to be able to attach to a lot more of my every day cooking. Definitely a recipe worth including in the weeknight meal plan.

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hot honey shrimp
from the New York Times

ingredients 
1 tablespoon honey
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon grated lime zest
¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound peeled and cleaned shrimp
1 tablespoon very cold butter, cubed
Lime wedges, for serving
1 jalapeño, halved, seeded and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chives or scallion greens, finely chopped

instructions
Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Combine honey, cayenne, lime zest, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss in shrimp to coat.

Spread shrimp on a large rimmed baking sheet (I like to cover mine in tinfoil for an easier cleanup) and dot with butter. Roast until shrimp is pink and opaque, but before the edges have started to curl, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with fresh lime juice and toss with jalapeños and chives or scallions. Note that the NYTimes post recommends using a light hand with the lime juice if you’re using pre-packaged hot honey.

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