A small, tiny pot inspired this shrimp pasta.
It started as just a tiny container from a local nursery. Then, like something out of a 1950s horror film, by August last summer, my French tarragon grew into a green tendril monster on the patio of my Seattle home. On a chilly day in late autumn, I hacked most of it back and dried it to make my own fine herbs, that classic combination that’s a mainstay in French cuisine. The traditional ingredients include parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil, all of which I grow all on my patio garden most summers.
Generally, herbs don’t overwinter well in Seattle. They make a show over summer, tolerate my regular hacking and then retreat until I let them drift into stiff vines or get around to drying them.
To my surprise, however, the tarragon resurrected with exceptional vigor this spring. When I first investigated my frigid, neglected patio in March, the tarragon greeted me like a baby unexpectedly standing up in a morning crib, happy and ready for the day. It reminded me that too often, we underestimate people or things, even plants.
I had an embarrassment of riches of frozen shrimp, so my mind went to shrimp pasta. I stumbled across this recipe while researching tarragon, originally published in Bon Appetit in 2005. I made some changes, notably tossing the greens with a bit of pasta to round it out as a meal.
I first made it for my mother visiting from Florida. “It tastes like spring in France,” she said. I agree.
Shrimp Pasta with Tarragon and Wilted Greens
- 6 ounces linguine cooked and drained
- 3/4 pound of large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots (about two large)
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream or half & half
- 10 oz. baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock
- Add water to a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and add the pasta, cooking it according to package directions while you prep the rest of the dish.
- Peel and devein the shrimp while the water boils.
- Toss shrimp, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, half the chopped tarragon, and half the minced ginger in medium bowl. Generously season the mixture with sea salt and ground pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about four minutes. Add white wine and reduce let reduce for two minutes. Add shrimp. Saute until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add butter and cream; bring just to simmer. Add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Set shrimp aside in another bowl, scraping out most of the pan’s contents.
- Put the pan back on medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet. Add spinach and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until just wilted, about 25 seconds.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and vegetable stock. Stir and mix into the pasta. Mound spinach pasta mixture in center of plates top with shrimp and sauce. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 2 teaspoons tarragon. Serve warm.
This was originally published in 2015; it has been updated. It may contain affiliate links.