Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Simple Friday Dinner



Growing up, my family almost always had seafood for dinner on Fridays. Since we were not catholic, I'm not sure how the tradition started. I think it had to do with Friday being the day my mother dressed up and took a bus downtown to the city market. She'd want me to point out that the above photo was from a much earlier time as the mode of transportation seems, here, to be by horse drawn wagons. I will also point out that the market remains today but has become much more. Many of the old buildings have been turned into art galleries, upscale restaurants and gift shops. The rows of awning-covered cement tables are, as in the long ago, filled with fruits, vegetables, canned goods, honey and jams. At the time that mother made her shopping trips, there was a fish monger offering fresh seafood on Fridays. Roanoke, in the southern tip of the Shenandoah Valley, took full advantage of that seafood store. With the advent of supermarkets, the need for the store dwindled and it closed years ago. Back in the day, mother always came home with some type of fish wrapped in white butcher's paper.

My sisters and I meet back in Roanoke every year in October. We always have a day on the market. At that time, the stalls are filled with locally grown apples, cider, late corn and Bent Mountain cabbage. Some offer mums, asters and great branches of flaming orange bittersweat berries. We stroll in and out of the shops and have lunch at the Roanoke Weiner Stand. It's a limited menu of hot dogs, fries and soft drinks. We sit at the window counter and watch passersby and reminisce. The little restaurant has been there over sixty years.

I'm already planning for fall and spring has barely arrived!

I've usually held steadfast to some sort of seafood on Fridays. Last night's dinner was a simple lemon garlic baked shrimp with oven-roasted roma tomatoes and a crisp toasted baguette to "sop" up the garlicky sauce. Since it's just the two of us most Fridays, this recipe serves two but could easily be expanded. I'm not sure, now, where I got the recipe because it has been in my file for years.



LEMON GARLIC BAKED SHRIMP

2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 pound medium shrimp
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Thinly slice garlic and shell the shrimp. Coarsely chop the parsley.

In an 8 inch shallow baking pan, bake the garlic in oil in the middle of the oven for about five minutes, or until lightly colored. Watch carefully as burned garlic is bitter!

Add shrimp, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

Bake, turning shrimp once, until just cooked through. This will take about 6 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and the parsley over and serve.

Makes 2 generous servings.

ENJOY!