Vanilla-Balsamic Shrimp with Saffron-Basil Israeli Couscous
Recipe created by Rori Trovato
Servings: Serves 2
  • 1 1/2 vanilla beans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 extra-large shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil , plus a few whole leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Israeli (toasted pasta) couscous
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Directions
    Split 1 vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape out its seeds. Place seeds and pod in a small saucepan, and add olive oil. Cook on medium heat about 7 minutes. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to several days. Discard pod.

    In a medium bowl, combine balsamic vinegar with a pinch of salt. Slowly whisk in 1/3 cup of vanilla-infused olive oil. Place shrimp in another bowl, and pour half of balsamic dressing on top. Refrigerate shrimp for 30 minutes.

    Split remaining 1/2 bean lengthwise, and scrape out seeds. Transfer seeds and pod to a small saucepan with chicken broth and saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes. Add basil, butter, couscous, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring mixture back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until couscous is tender and most of broth is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons vanilla olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté on one side for 3 minutes, then sauté other side until crisp and opaque, 3 minutes more.

    Place couscous on 2 plates; garnish with basil leaves (if using). Arrange shrimp on top, add pepper to taste, and drizzle with remaining vanilla-balsamic vinaigrette. Serve immediately.