spicy scampi with rosemary cannellini


What’s your back pocket way to put dinner together when life has been too hectic? You know those days; when there’s no plan, not much fresh stuff in the refrigerator and hardly any energy left to think about cooking.

I can hear someone saying “I order takeout” – and I get that. I do too! After long days cooking for other people during my other job, there are many nights when I’m perfectly happy to leave dinner in the capable hands of Someone Else.


But there’s still something a lot more satisfying about cooking at home, creating a simple meal from what’s on hand. I rely on some basics to carry me through those days. I keep shrimp in the freezer, and along with a few other pantry staples - including cannellini beans, tomatoes and dried pasta or rice, dinner is served.

Defrosting the shrimp in a big bowl of water takes less than 15 minutes, and if your shrimp happen to be already peeled and deveined the rest of this recipe will take barely 15 minutes more.

Otherwise, if you’re able, make cooking a collaborative effort and employ a (hungry) kitchen helper to do the peeling while you open a bottle of wine and chop some rosemary.

Rosemary will keep in your fridge for a week or more and can survive indoors as a houseplant during the colder months, which in my book makes it a staple. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to smell and to cook with.


spicy scampi with rosemary cannellini

Serving Size: serves 4


1 pound jumbo (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon crushed garlic (3 or 4 cloves)

1 red chili pepper, finely chopped

½ - 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary and Italian parsley

1 cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained

¼ cup canned tomato puree or passata; such as Pomi

2 tablespoons butter


  1. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the garlic, fresh and dried chili, ½ teaspoon salt and the olive oil.
  2. Place a medium (10-inch) skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp mixture in one layer. Cook 1 minute; turn the shrimp over and toss in the herbs and cannellini. Stir in the tomato puree and ¼ cup water; bring to a simmer cook a few more minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Add the butter and swirl until it melts into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  4. Serve hot over cooked pasta or rice.

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices and Raita

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices
During the summer, there’s not much that makes me happier than sitting outside with a glass of wine in my hand while the entire dinner cooks on the grill – this is a recipe that allow you to do just that.

Using a cedar plank to grill salmon has a few bonuses: It adds a distinctive smoky flavor, it’s an easier way to cook fragile salmon fillets on the grill, and it makes a great presentation on the table.

Grilling corn for the accompanying relish pulls everything together with the salmon, along with an Indian-inspired spice butter and cooling yogurt raita on the side.

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices and Raita

Serving Size: serves 4


4 ears corn, shucked

1 serrano chile pepper

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons tandoori spice mix *

¼ cup butter, softened

1 ½ pounds skin-on salmon filet

1 cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup chopped seedless cucumber

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Soak a cedar grilling plank in a shallow pan of water (a roasting pan works well) until saturated, at least 2 hours ahead of cooking.
  2. Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling or heat a gas grill to medium high. Roast the corn on the grill until browned on all sides, turning every few minutes. Cool, then slice the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Combine the corn, chile, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  3. Put the cedar plank on the grill rack and heat until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mash together the spice mix and butter until blended. Lay the salmon on the cedar plank and season with salt and pepper. Smear the butter over the salmon and place the plank back on the grill. Cover the grill and cook 12 – 15 minutes, or until the salmon is translucent and begins to flake.
  5. Stir together the yogurt, cucumber and cilantro.
  6. Cut the salmon into 4 portions, but not through the skin. Slide each portion off the skin with a spatula. Serve the salmon with some corn relish and raita on the side.


* To make your own tandoori spice blend stir together ¼ teaspoon each ground cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper.


Scallop Salad with Lime and Grilled Mango

I spent many years living in South Florida, where aside from meeting healthy green iguanas on my patio, I truly tasted mangoes for the first time. Coming from non-tropical New England where I grew up I’d thought I knew how a fresh mango was to eat – mushy, stringy and overwhelmingly musky-tasting – not very sexy. It wasn’t until a co-worker of mine in Miami brought me some drippingly sweet, ripe mangoes from the huge tree that grew over her backyard that my thoughts about mangoes were completely turned around.

I don’t live anywhere near a mango tree these days, but at least better-tasting mango varieties that can stand up to travel are making their way into our markets. I love the Ataulfo or Champagne mangoes that are in season right now. They are virtually fiber-free and have the perfect ratio of sweet to tangy.

I enjoy making a meal out of salad, but dinner for me cannot be just a bowl of plain greens. I seared some super-fresh sea scallops briefly on the grill along with some mango, and drizzled it all with a sweet-tart lime dressing – this is a great summer dinner.

Scallop Salad with Lime and Grilled Mango

Serving Size: serves 4


¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

Pinch cayenne pepper


16 large dry-packed sea scallops

Freshly ground black pepper

3 small, ripe mangoes (such as Ataulfo)

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

4 cups baby spinach leaves

½ head radicchio, thinly sliced

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

4 scallions, root ends trimmed and chopped


  1. Whisk together the lime juice, agave, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pat the scallops dry with a towel; sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Stand each mango stem side up on a cutting board with the wider sides facing away from you; slice off the two “cheeks” on either side of the stem, cutting close to the pit – you should have 6 pieces (save the remaining mango flesh for another use); peel each piece and slice in half lengthwise.
  3. Heat a heavy skillet, preferably with ridges, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter or oil to the pan. Arrange the mango slices in the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, just until browned. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon butter or oil to the pan; add the scallops and sear until they’re nicely browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Pour in the lime juice mixture and turn off the heat, swirling to blend the juices.
  5. Arrange some spinach, radicchio and avocado on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 4 scallops and 4 mango slices; drizzle with the pan juices and sprinkle with the scallions.


Shrimp would be a perfect substitute for scallops.