Herb Marinated Shrimp with Creamy Cauliflower Mash

I’m on the hunt for recipes that let me feel that spring is only moments away. This bright green herb blend marinating tender-sweet shrimp with creamy, rich cauliflower mash and smokey garlic kale does it. The bright greens and fresh herbs bring fresh garden flavors to our end of winter  days.

shrimp_cauliflower_MashThere are a few things you can do in advance to make this recipe a super quick fix.

  • Make bacon for breakfast.  OK, don’t have to ask me twice.  Bacon it is! This way you can reserve the bacon fat to make the smokey delicious kale. Or if you are a party pooper you can just use olive oil but you will sacrifice a bit of the deliciousness.
  • Buy cauliflower rice in the produce section instead of a head of cauliflower. This will cut down on both prep and cook time.
  • Make the marinade up to two days ahead and let the shrimp soak up the spring flavors so when you are ready to toss them in the hot pan they are prepped and ready.

I’m not sure what it is about the change of seasons that makes me feel like everything is in slow motion. Except the change from spring to summer here in Chicago land.  That change seems to take about 48 hours. We generally no sooner give up our sweaters and boots then BAM its bathing suit season.  For more years than I care to admit it catches me off guard. I’m never ready for shorts and sleeveless tops.  This year I’m ready to not be ready.  Just happy for the sunshine! And fresh herbs, sweet shrimp and fresh kale. These rustic mashed cauliflower are packed with nutrients.  The beans and cheese add a creaminess that makes you wonder how this was made of cauliflower. It’s Yummy!  Grits and potatoes can get to the back of the line, shrimp has a new partner.

This probably goes without saying but here goes…Fresh seafood especially shellfish should never smell fishy.  It should smell salty and briny like sea water.  Most of the shrimp in the fishmongers case has been frozen and thawed. Unless you are on the coast in just the right season just about all shrimp sold in markets has been previously frozen so I find it best to simply buy it frozen and thaw it properly when I’m ready to use it.

To properly defrost your shrimp,

  1. Remove the shrimp for your recipe. Reseal the bag and return to the freezer.
  2. Place the shrimp in a fine-mesh sieve or colander, which, in turn, you place in a large bowl of cold tap water. This makes it easy to lift the shrimp in and out of the water.
  3. Let sit submerged for 10 minutes.Lift the colander and all the shrimp out of the water. Change the water in the bowl, again using cold tap water, and re-submerge the shrimp.
  4. Leave for another 10 to 20 minutes and the shrimp should be completely defrosted and still cold. Pat them dry before cooking.

You can also defrost shrimp overnight in the refrigerator. Just place them in a covered bowl. The next day give them a rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel before cooking.

Herb Shrimp with Kale and Cauliflower Mash


For the cauliflower mash:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, like sharp cheddar or havarti
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the kale:

  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat
  •  4 cups chopped kale stems removed (One large bunch)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For the shrimp:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled (tails left on) and deveined
  • 1/4 white wine


For the cauliflower:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the cauliflower and garlic.
  • Sauté for a minute or two, until the garlic is really fragrant.
  • Add the milk and 2 cups broth. Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
  • Add the while beans and mash roughly with the back of a large wooden spoon or potato masher.
  • Stir in the cornmeal and things will start to thicken a bit.
  • Adjust the consistency by adding in the last cup of broth as needed.
  • Stir in the salt and cheese and season to taste.

For the kale:

  • Heat the bacon fat in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.
  • Add the greens and garlic and saute until softened.
  • Remove kale and wipe out pan with a paper towel.

For the shrimp:

  • Combine the garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Pulse in a food processor to combine. pour into a large bowl.
  • Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • In the same skillet the kale was cooked in, add the oil over medium heat. Add only enough shrimp to cover the bottom of the pan.
    Cook for just a few minutes and then add a quick splash of white wine to pull the browned bits and herbs into something of a saucy-coating for the shrimp.

Serve the shrimp and kale over a big pile of cauliflower mash!
ENJOYshrimp_cauliflower_MashWho’s making this one?  You won’t regret it! Let me know in the comments below.  I’m always so excited to hear from readers❤️ (and my kids)


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