Cooking for One: Sauteed Shrimp with Asparagus

by Cate on October 28, 2009

Shrimp and Asparagus for One

“Where does shrimp come from?” Nick asked me tonight as he helped me peel the shells off.

“From the sea.”

“What are they again?”

“Shellfish.  A kind of fish.”

“They’re not alive still, are they?”

“No, not anymore.”

“Oh.  Have you ever seen them swimming?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Maybe Grandpa has.  He’s been alive more.  When people are alive longer, they’ve seen more things.”

My Dad is going to love that one.

There are some challenges to cooking when it’s just me and the kids.  Particularly when I might want to make something I know they don’t like.  I saw this recipe for Sauteed Shrimp with Asparagus over the weekend and ripped it out to add to my pile.  Neither of the kids like shrimp, which is absolutely fine.  They don’t have to.  So those types of recipes, I either make when they’re not here, or when there are leftovers they can eat.  Or when we have company over.  Or if I share with the neighbors.   I typically don’t make something they don’t like too often because then I’ll have to end up eating it myself … for days.  As much as I may like a recipe, there is a limit to how many days afterwards I want to eat the same thing, you know?  Yes, I could halve or further reduce the recipe, but I usually forget.

Enter the solution.

Cooking for one recipes!  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.  It only occurred to me this weekend when I spied a blurb about Judith Jones’ new cookbook.  You know, Judith Jones.  The woman who edited Julia Child’s cookbook?  Anyway, she has a new cookbook out, The Pleasures of Cooking for One.  As soon as I saw it, I added it to my Christmas list.  The brief write-up I saw (ok, it might have been a mention in Glamour magazine) included a recipe for a quick shrimp and asparagus dish.  Two ingredients, 10 minutes of time, and healthy to boot.  How more perfect could it be?

While I was making my dinner, I reheated some leftover pasta and roast chicken for the kids.  This dish was one of those blink-and-you-miss-it recipes in terms of preparation.  Short of peeling the shrimp and chopping the asparagus, there is nothing else to do.  I kid you not.  A splash of white wine, salt, pepper, garlic and you have dinner.  And the taste?  Perfect.  There is no heavy sauce or dressing, which allows the flavors of the shrimp and asparagus to take center stage.  As I was setting the table, I put the pan on low and let the ingredients go for a few extra minutes to get the bottom caramelized a smidge.  Those little bits on the bottom of the pan with just a hint of white wine taste?  So good.  So very good.  They are what this recipe is all about.

Although the recipe was written for one, I have about half of it leftover.  Cooking for more than one?  This is a great recipe to scale up because there aren’t a lot of ingredients that you’ll need to figure out the measurements for.  Just add more shrimp and asparagus.  It really is that simple.

Sauteed Shrimp with Asparagus
Recipe courtesy of The Pleasures of Cooking for One

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a skillet.  Scatter 1 cloveof thinly sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add 10 oz. peeled shrimp, 1 cup chopped asparagus, salt and pepper and cook 2 minutes, until shrimp is opaque.  Add a splash of white wine, cooking down a few minutes and scatter with fresh herbs.  Bon appetit!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebekah Williams October 28, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Hey Cate. Loved Nick’s insightful comment about living longer and seeing more. Amazing what they come up with, isn’t it?!


Joanne October 29, 2009 at 6:13 am

I have an upper limit of eating something for about 3 days before I get kind of bored of it. Unless it is extraordinarily good. Lasagna, for example I actually could probably eat every day. Cooking for one recipes are a great solution!


mandy October 29, 2009 at 10:56 am

I’m used to cooking for a small army between family, friends, and who knows who else just stopping by. But now that summer is over and winter is settling in there just aren’t very many people around. (my stepdad works nights and my brother often works out of town) Many nights its just my mom and I. Its been an adjustment just cooking for two (or even just one) but its been a nice change.


heather October 29, 2009 at 11:11 am

hah! kids say the cutest things :) hope your super old dad thinks so, too ;)

love shrimp! these sound tasty!!


Ramona October 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm

It sounds good. Hope Santa gets you that book.


Phoo-D October 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm

It can be challenging cooking for one but this sounds like a delicious result! Your kids are intelligent and adorable =).


Megan November 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm



Angie January 16, 2010 at 11:11 am

Looks yummy! I will try it. My son loves shrimp and he will eat it all. Thanks for the recipe.


sara @ indoor herb garden July 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Fast, simple and looks delicious. I no longer cook for one, but even when I did, I found it more efficient ant to make enough for leff overs so I would have a lunch I could grab in the morning before going to work or a ready to eat dinner later in the week.


candi April 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Its Sunday(in Arkansas) and I don’t have white wine. Will it taste good without it?


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