9.01.2011

walnut and asparagus scampi pasta

Pasta Night

In another life, seafood and I were partners. Or more to the point, seafood graced many of my plates, as I happily devoured the little creatures, be they swordfish, tuna, shrimp, scrod, halibut, scallops or cod. I was a pescetarian, thinking that sea creatures were not factory farmed and were fair game for the honor of becoming my next meal. In fact, I felt pretty good about my decision to save the lives of their land counterparts - cows, pigs, chickens. It was a sad day for my eating repertoire when I discovered that fish were being factory farmed. The practice wasn't as common back twenty years ago, but it was certainly beginning its snowballing. On top of the fact that fish nowadays are intensely more factory farmed in huge over-populated underwater nets, the animals that are being caught in the wild are dwindling at an alarming rate. Add mercury and other heavy metals and toxic chemicals that leach into the seas from human pollution into the system of these same creatures, and you no longer are eating Omega-3 fatty acids wrapped up in an affordable lean protein, but are stuffing yourselves full of misery, metals and guilt, knowing that you are contributing to the extinction of numerous other species of sea life. 
How does your shrimp taste now?

Lovely segue into tonight's meal. Shrimp Scampi was a long time favorite of mine, ever since my father couldn't serve us the delicacy while owning a seafood restaurant because every penny had to be saved. Scampi was something that was expensive and carefully snuck out to the kids by my mom when my dad wasn't around. Some women lie to their spouses about the cost of the new dress they just bought at Macy's; my mom lied about food. 

While there are plenty of veggie shrimp substitutes on the market, this meal does not utilize any. I was wanting to make a dish that was a memory jolt to shrimp scampi and not a lightning bolt to the gut - in a good or a bad way. The seafood substitutes we've tried over the years have either totally missed the mark or were overwhelmingly 'fishy,' trying too hard to be something that they weren't. 

Scampi, whether shrimp, scallops, or asparagus, all contain tons of garlic, olive oil and lemon. The garlic is slowly infused into the oil over low heat, while the lemon juice gives an extra needed tang right before service. I chose to use asparagus, walnuts, dulse seaweed and parsley. Perhaps the empty serving bowl with the few lone strands of pasta sticking to the sides, sitting in the middle of the dining table gives an indication of how well received it was. Even hours after the dinner dishes have been dried and put away, the house is still perfumed with the garlic and olive oil. A gentle reminder of a meal well enjoyed.

Cost Breakdown

pasta: $1
asparagus: $4
olive oil, lemon juice, garlic: $1
parsley, dulse: $2
walnuts: $2
Total for 4 servings:
$10.00


Walnut and Asparagus Scampi Pasta Recipe

3 comments:

  1. Yay, what more can I ask for? Asparagus and activism all in one post. I am a happy blog reader. Nice to see you :)

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  2. Even before becoming a vegetarian I never had the opportunity to experience scampi. I like the idea of trying it out on asparagus. I had no idea shrimp substitutes existed.

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  3. Hi, GiGi! Nice to see you, too!

    Hi Tender B., Scampi is delicious; garlic, olive oil and lemon are a super combination. ... the shrimp sub would be an adventure, but this recipe, with the asparagus, is all you need.

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