Monday, January 13, 2014

Saying Goodbye to The Rustique

I complain all the time about the lack of decent food in my fair city. Therefore, every so often, my friends and I travel to the county line to dine at a restaurant called The Rustique. It's cozy, the food is good, and it's closer to where three of my most frequent dining companions live, that is, in Saranac, NY. Sadly, the good folks at The Rustique announced in the fall that they would be closing up shop and retiring at the end of the year. :-(

So my friends I went for one last meal there in December, and I had a Greek-inspired pasta dish called Shrimp Athena with lemon, feta, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, and shrimp, of course. It was simple, but simply SCRUMPTIOUS! So now that The Rustique is gone (boo hoo), I guess I have to learn to make something similar at home. Here's what I came up with:

Shrimp Athena

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 lb. large (raw) shrimp peeled, deveined, butterflied
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup julienned sundried tomatoes (or swap out halved grape tomatoes, if you prefer)
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 lb. pasta, prepared according to package directions (al dente)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 oz. feta cheese

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil. Coat shrimp with flour that has been mixed with lemon pepper and shake off the excess. Cook shrimp on medium heat for about two minutes until golden brown on both sides. Remove the shrimp from the pan. 

Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Add white wine, tomatoes, olives, lemon zest and juice, and simmer for an additional two to three minutes. Melt the butter into the wine and veggie mixture, then toss the cooked pasta around in the pan to coat. Add the chopped parsley, feta cheese, and the reserved shrimp and toss once more before serving (with crust bread to sop up the yummy sauce).

*Note: A pound of cut-up boneless chicken breasts can be substituted for the shrimp.

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