Shrimp with Saffron Rice and Fennel Salad

At Abattoir in Atlanta, chef Joshua Hopkins uses saffron and Aleppo pepper in this decadent, Carolina-style shrimp with rice that would qualify as a stunt-double for shrimp 'n' grits.


  • 1 cup Carolina Gold or arborio rice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 16 large shrimp (1 pound)—shelled and deveined, shells reserved

  • 1 large fennel bulb, quartered—one quarter finely chopped, three-quarters thinly sliced on a mandoline

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped

  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 cup semisweet white wine, such as Riesling

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Step 1

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook, stirring a few times, until just al dente, 16 minutes. Drain well.

Step 2

  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the shrimp shells; cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped fennel, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, fennel seeds, and Aleppo pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until the onion is golden about 6 minutes. Add the wine and boil until almost evaporated. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and simmer over moderate heat for 12 minutes. Strain.

Step 3

  • In another medium saucepan, combine the cream with the saffron, 1/2 cup of the shrimp stock, and the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Add the parboiled rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened and the grains are tender for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, cover, and remove from the heat.

Step 4

  • In a large skillet, bring the remaining shrimp stock to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until pink and curled, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and black pepper.

Step 5

  • In a small bowl, toss the sliced fennel and scallion with the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper.

Step 6

  • Rewarm the rice and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Transfer the rice to shallow bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the rice. Top with the fennel salad, garnish with the thyme, and serve.

Make-Ahead The shrimp stock can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing This fragrant take on shrimp and grits is perfect with a full-bodied white, like Chardonnay that's been aged in oak barrels, which give the wine richness.

Thanks to

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