As far as my culinary organizational skills go, I consider myself to be an eight on a scale of one to ten. I make a meal plan every week and use that to compile a comprehensive grocery list for our once-weekly trip to the store. I read recipes all the way through before making them, clean up the kitchen as I go, and almost always use up perishable food items before they go bad. But even though I'm doing pretty well on the organizational front, I am still somewhat envious of the hyper-organized-level-ten cooks I read about on other food blogs: people who spend their Sundays cooking an entire week's worth of dinners and making salads in a jar. I can see the appeal of mise en place (the practice preparing all of your ingredients before you start cooking--washing, chopping, measuring, etc.--and placing them in individual bowls so they're ready to go), but in reality I will probably always be the type of cook who chops the onions while the olive oil is warming up (what else are you going to do with those few minutes, anyway?) and scrounges around for the salt and measuring spoons instead of having a carefully measured teaspoon at the ready in an adorable little bowl. For the most part, my cooking approach works: dinner gets on the table and we don't have to wash a bunch of little ingredient bowls. But because of the short cooking time, Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous is a recipe for which it's worth the time to set up a mise en place.
We make this recipe frequently during the winter months, partly because I have a penchant for buying shrimp in large quantities and also because the lemon and parsley provide a bright, fresh feel that is much appreciated during a season of limited local produce and subzero temperatures. For this recipe, prepping as you go isn't practical--you'll end up as a frazzled mess, with overcooked shrimp to boot (I speak from experience). So take an extra few minutes beforehand to drain the beans, chop the parsley and green onions, peel the garlic, and squeeze the lemon, wherever you happen to usually fall on the culinary organizational skills scale.
Adapted from the Real Simple recipe by Sarah Quessenberry
- 1 cup dry couscous
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (leave one tablespoon of butter intact; cut remaining two tablespoons of butter into small cubes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 12 ounce package of frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and with tails removed
- 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Fluff.
Meanwhile, melt the one intact tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add green onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, about three minutes. Stir in the two tablespoons of chopped up butter, beans, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are warm and butter has completely melted, about three minutes.
Serve shrimp mixture over prepared couscous.