© Susie Cushner
Shrimp and artichokes under saffron croutons
This casserole looks as if it takes far more effort to make than required
This casserole is so simple. You add shrimp to a quickly prepared tomato and artichoke sauce, and spoon the mixture into a baking dish. A sprinkle of crumbled feta and a topping of homemade croutons complete the assembly before the dish goes in the oven.
1 day-old baguette
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil, plus ¼ c. (60 ml)
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) saffron threads, crushed
½ c. (125 ml) chopped onion
1 9-oz. (255-g) package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and patted dry
2 tbsp. (30 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped garlic
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried basil
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried oregano
dash of red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. (800-g) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
¼ c. (60 ml) white wine
½ c. (125 ml) pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
1 lb. (455 g) extra-large (16 to 20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ c. (125 ml) crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. (30 ml) chopped fresh basil
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 50°F (180°C). Oil a 9-x-13-in. (23-x-33-cm) or another shallow 3-quart (3-L) baking dish.
Cut the baguette into ¾-inch (2-cm) slices and cut the slices into ¾-inch (2-cm) cubes to get 2 cups (500 ml). (Save the extra bread for another use.) Mix the 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil and the saffron in a medium bowl, add the bread cubes and toss to coat well. Spread the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, turning once, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat the ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and artichoke hearts and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is slightly translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the flour, garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1½ minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine and olives, and stir to combine. Season with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt, add¬ing more if needed.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the feta and top with the croutons. Bake, uncovered, until the shrimp are pink and curled, about 12 minutes. (The cooking time may vary, depending on the size of the shrimp.) Sprinkle the casserole with the chopped basil before serving. Serves 6.
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