I took a quick look around and found several recipes that combined Chinese Five Spice, garlic, salt and pepper to season shrimp for pan frying. I added some homemade 2009 Viognier for additional flavor and to ensure the garlic paste I was going to use wouldn’t burn. I had already planned to serve a mushroom couscous and steamed broccoli with the shrimp, but that didn’t seem complete.
I continued thinking about Asian influences and figured that with a couple teaspoons of Five Spice and some black pepper the shrimp might have a little heat. I could throw some sweetness at the shrimp to keep things in balance. Plums! Something I had on hand to eat which would work nicely here. A plum and onion compote is where I landed.
Plum & Onion Compote
3 purple plums, cut into ½ cubes
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
¼ cup of water
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 oz spiced simple syrup (2x syrup spiced with cinnamon, clove and allspice)
1 tsp rice vinegar
Additional cinnamon & clove to taste
Using a medium saucepan sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat. Add the plums, water, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coriander, salt, pepper, spiced syrup and vinegar. Mix well. Continue to simmer until the plums are soft but not falling apart. Add additional spices, salt and pepper to taste.
Five Spice Shrimp
30 raw large shrimp, deveined and shells removed
2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz dry white wine
Clean and pat the shrimp dry. Toss the shrimp with the Five Spice, salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with oil. When the shrimp begin to get pink Add the garlic paste and gently mix it in with the shrimp. Add the wine and cook the shrimp through. Immediately remove them from the heat and the pan to prevent overcooking.
For the plating I placed the shrimp overtop the plum/onion compote. The broccoli was steamed using a bamboo steamer and the couscous was the handy boxed kind found in the rice section of your local grocery. We generally season our broccoli with spray butter (Smart Balance to I Can’t Believe It’s Not) and grated parmesan cheese, although that isn’t shown in the photo.
I paired the meal with the 2009 Viognier that I used to cook the shrimp. This particular wine was not as aromatic as I had hoped, but in its later age and mellowing the flavors have come out a bit. It is a great middle of the road wine for a dish that isn’t very rich, spicy or complex.