Shrimp with French Lentils and Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

September 23, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4 entrées
Author Notes

This is a play on a dish we had at a sadly defunct restaurant in the Willamette valley called Paulée. The restaurant was about an hour away from our house, but we are big fans of the head chef, Daniel Mondok, so decided to make the trek. We had a 9 course tasting menu for our anniversary dinner that was truly spectacular. One of the dishes we had was grilled octopus with beluga lentils, charred tomato vinaigrette, and avocado. It was a great combination of flavors and textures – the meaty, slightly chewy octopus, the earthy lentils, and the creamy avocado were all tied together with the slightly tangy tomato vinaigrette. I made a mental note to try something similar at home. I decided to use shrimp rather than octopus, and used the shrimp shells to enhance chicken stock for cooking the lentils. I cooked the shrimp using the Cook's Illustrated method for pan-seared shrimp, as I find it produces shrimp that are flavorful and not overdone. For the vinaigrette I decided to oven roast tomatoes, and use some smokey spices to enhance the roasted flavor. The resulting dish has the qualities I was hoping for – the meaty, slightly sweet shrimp, the earthy lentils, the creamy avocado, and the slightly tangy tomato vinaigrette to tie it all together. It makes a great main course, but could also be used as a warm salad. —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • Roasted tomato vinaigrette
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus additional for roasting tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar, plus additional to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • Shrimp and Lentils
  • 1 lb large shrimp (31 to 40 per pound)
  • 1 quart chicken stock (or low sodium chick broth)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • generous pinch sugar
  • generous pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablepoons olive oil
  • 1 cup French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 small avocado
  1. Note: Many of the steps should be done concurrently. While the oven is heating, peel and devein the shrimp, and start the chicken stock heating. While the stock is infusing and the tomatoes are roasting: pick through and rinse the lentils, mince the shallot, and chop the parsley. While the lentils are cooking finish the vinaigrette. The whole dish can be finished in not much more than an hour, so is feasible for a week night meal, and fantastic enough for a celebratory supper.
  2. For the vinaigrette: Heat oven to 400º F. Core tomatoes, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Place the tomato halves cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, and smash them so they are fairly flat. The skin will split in several places, use a paring knife to help it if needed. Brush tomatoes with olive oil. Bake until skin is spotted brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes, or until easily handled.
  3. Peel the skin from the tomatoes. Transfer the tomatoes to food processor. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, shallot, salt, cumin, paprika, and black pepper. Process until homogenous. While processing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or vinegar. Add the parsley, and pulse several times to combine. The parsley should essentially be minced, not fully incorporated.
  4. For the shrimp and lentils: Peel and devein shrimp, saving the shells. Toss the shrimp with kosher salt, black pepper, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate.
  5. Combine the shells with the chicken stock and bay leaf in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain. After 15 to 20 minutes, strain the shells and bay leaf from the stock.
  6. Return the stock to the pan and add the lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, and return them to the pan. Stir in most of the vinaigrette, leaving some to drizzle over the final dish. Keep the pan covered over very low heat, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
  7. Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until the oil is just starting to smoke. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer. Cook about 1 minute, the bottom third to half of the shrimp should be opaque. Remove the skillet from the heat, then flip the shrimp over. Allow the residual heat from the pan to cook the shrimp until all but the very center of the shrimp are opaque, about 30 more seconds. Transfer the shrimp to a plate, and repeat the process with the remaining olive oil and shrimp. Add the first set of shrimp back to the pan. Cover to allow the residual heat to fully cook the shrimp, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. While the shrimp are finishing up, thinly slice the avocado. Give the lentils a final stir. Plate the dish with the lentils on the bottom, topped with the shrimp and avocado, and drizzled with the remaining vinaigrette.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • aargersi
  • vanillagrrl
  • Greenstuff
  • AntoniaJames
  • foxeslovelemons
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

31 Reviews

aargersi November 14, 2015
Every time I see this recipe I have to stop what I'm doing and make it - it's one of my very favorite things!!
aargersi July 14, 2014
Still one of my all-time favorite recipes. Now I want to make it this week.
vanillagrrl October 20, 2013
This was so delicious. My family and I loved it. Will make it again -- seemed like more than the sum of its parts, and I like having the extra roasted tomato vinaigrette to use for something else.
Greenstuff April 29, 2013
So glad to see this recipe re-surface! Ironically, I just walked in the door with a pound of shrimp and was wondering whether we had some lentils. I know we have an avocado, so I'm starting to salivate.
hardlikearmour April 30, 2013
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy this recipe enough to make it twice!
AntoniaJames April 29, 2013
Waiting impatiently for tomato season so I can make this. It looks so good! Would substitute kala jeera for the smoked paprika, as I'm allergic to the latter. Honestly, I'll be sipping that vinaigrette off the spoon! ;o)
hardlikearmour April 30, 2013
I don't envy you your flower and capsicum allergies! I ordered some grafted tomato plants this year, and hope they bear early!
foxeslovelemons April 23, 2013
Oh my gosh, this looks AMAZING. That's all I can say.
hardlikearmour April 24, 2013
Thank you, fll!
Greenstuff March 26, 2013
aargersi recommended this dish on a Hotline question about favorite Food52 recipes, and it fit right in with my thoughts for last night's dinner--I wanted seafood + lentils, and I had a ripe avocado sitting on the counter. I confess that I wasn't too sure as I made it. It required a bunch of steps, like getting out the food processor, and the components didn't seem like they were made for each other. As I plated it, I thought it maybe looked like a bit of a mess. But then we ate it! My husband asked how I'd ever even thought of making it, and in our household, it did not serve 4. There wasn't even the smallest forkful left over for today's lunch. So thanks aargersi as well as hardlikearmour. Delicious!
hardlikearmour April 24, 2013
I'm glad you tried it, even though you had reservations. I apologize for the delayed response!
nannydeb January 31, 2013
Great recipe! I made this last night and it's delicious! The roasted tomato vinaigrette is perfect. Nice healthy, easy to prepare meal. thanks!
hardlikearmour April 24, 2013
Thank you, nannydeb! I'm sorry for the delayed response. I didn't get notification.
aargersi September 29, 2012
OHMYGOD! We had this for dinner last night. It is easily one of the tastiest thing I have had in QUITE some time - absolutely fabulous. LOVE!!!!
hardlikearmour September 29, 2012
That's exactly the feeling my husband and I had when we tried the dish at the restaurant! Thank you for making my day!!
stingraystirs September 25, 2012
I can't wait to try this!
hardlikearmour September 25, 2012
Thanks! I hope you get a chance to make it.
EmilyC September 24, 2012
Oh yum! Love the components and I'm sure they all taste awesome together. This looks perfect for fall.
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
Thanks, EmC! It is a good fall meal - warm and hearty without being heavy.
gingerroot September 24, 2012
This sounds amazing, hla. I especially love everything you have going on in your dressing.
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
Thank you, gr! The dressing is pretty darn tasty.
aargersi September 24, 2012
OMG this sounds fantastic. Seriously. It looks like you could really get it done in about an hour right? I am for sure trying this. And - healthy too! BONUS!!!
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
For real. To some degree depends on your skill at shucking shrimp, which is the most onerous task of the dish. The rest of the prep is pretty fast, and most of the cooking is minimal hands on.
aargersi September 24, 2012
I am a good shucker!! I think I will try this over the weekend. And I will report back!
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
Yay! I'd love to get your feedback if you do.
fiveandspice September 24, 2012
Yum, indeed. I am stealing that vinaigrette idea.
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
Do let me know if you come up with any good uses for it!
drbabs September 24, 2012
I have a whole bunch of roasted tomatoes in my freezer so I'm on my way. I can't wait to make this!
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
That's great! Let me know how you like it.
drbabs September 24, 2012
hardlikearmour September 24, 2012
I agree! :-)