As I write this, a small being is hiccuping away inside my belly.
I’m growing something that hiccups.
Is life not an absolute trip?
That person I never thought I’d be — you know, that woman completely enamored with what’s taking place inside her as new life blooms into being? I think I’m becoming her. I took my sweet-ass time getting here, but I think it, or she, rather, is finally sinking in. Being pregnant does not The Suck. Nor is it, as I thought it would be for the duration of this experience, Totally Normal.
I think maybe — finally — it’s kind of Awesome. <3
I like Awesome.
With less than two months to go, Chris and I have entered full-blown nesting mode. (Charming how I’ve lumped him in with me, isn’t it?) We’ve tucked into every corner of our tiny house (and our not-so-tiny garage) in an attempt to clean/repurpose/maximize each square inch of potential living/storage space to the very best of our ability. The folks at the local Goodwill donation center probably know us by name. I’m certain they at least know our car well enough to suppress a small feeling of dread as we make our weighty approach.
It’s so kind how they don’t say half of what they could about the things people donate, isn’t it? If it were me, it’d be all “wow, talk about a macramé phase…” and “I thought jellies were coming back, too…”
There’s no holding my tongue. But they just take it all in stride.
As part of this whole baby-prep situation, I’ve started collecting recipes that will help make those first few weeks of parenthood just a little bit easier. For the most part, we’re aiming for lots of freezer-to-oven meals that will keep prep-work and grocery shopping to an absolute minimum, but I know we’ll want to tuck a few fresher — and yet still suuuuuper simple — options into the mix, too.
For that reason, sheet pan suppers, like this one here, are only too compelling.
This recipe comes from Molly Gilbert’s new book Sheet Pan Suppers, and it’s one of maybe a dozen I had earmarked within 10 minutes of cracking the spine. If you don’t know Molly, she’s the charming, easygoing, completely relatable voice behind the food blog Dunk & Crumble. Unlike so many of us (or instead: like so many of us wish to be!), she’s classically trained, but despite the hours she’s logged in professional kitchens and testing recipes for Saveur Magazine, she still churns out eats that are refreshingly approachable and relevant for everyday cooking.
Oh, and she’s kind of gabby, too.
I like gabby.
As the name so subtly implies, Sheet Pan Suppers is full of one-dish meals (and appetizers! and sides! and sweets!) that all come together within the confines of the humble sheet pan. Most of them cook up in an hour or less — and those that take a little more time certainly take no more labor because it’s literally as simple as throwing everything onto a pan (ok, sometimes some creative layering is involved) and stashing the whole lot in the oven.
In addition to the recipe I’ve shared below, I’m also fairly smitten with Molly’s:
- Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola & Honey
- Chicken Legs with Orange & Fennel
- Herbed Leg of Lamb with Crispy Sweet Potatoes
- Crisp-Topped Eggplant with Chickpeas
- Broiled Plums with Meringue Hats
There’s even a whole chapter on SHEET PAN BRUNCHES.
I like brunches. (But we’ll save that for another post.)
This shrimp is such a show-stopper, you guys. Aside from the fact that tubed polenta is just fun, this recipe has so many things going for it. It’s fresh, bright, briny, salty — and if you can nab your shrimp on sale (like I did – yay!), this entire pan o’ food comes together for around $15. Tell me that is not an absolute steal considering how flipping fancy the whole thing looks!
Being off the nitrates (and knowing we’ll quite possibly be serving this to a few of our
weirdo pescetarian friends in the future) I traded the pancetta ‘tuiles’ for crisply-edged slabs of bubbly halloumi, but I’m only too eager to give the original version a go just as soon as I’m off the wagon. Both, I’m sure, result in delightfully salty little nibbles that add a layer of naughty to an otherwise responsible meal.
I like naughty. 😉
So many congrats, Molly, on what has got to be one of the most thoughtful, useful resources to grace our kitchen in quite a while. I can’t wait to sheet all over the place with you in mind — those first few weeks, especially. <3
- 8-10 very thin slices round unsmoked pancetta
- 1 tube (18 ounces) precooked polenta, sliced into ½" thick rounds (about 16 slices)
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1.5 T plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 generous pound 26/30 count raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, blotted dry
- Preheat oven to 400F with rack in center position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Line a plate with paper towels.
- Arrange pancetta rounds on prepared pan and bake until crisp, 5-7 mins. Remove to the lined plate to cool and drain; set aside. (Keep parchment on the pan.)
- Place polenta rounds on the used sheet pan on top of the pancetta drippings.
- In a large bowl, toss together the cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Scatter tomatoes around and over polenta. Bake tomatoes and polenta for about 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1.5 T olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, Worcestershire, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and chives in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
- After polenta and tomatoes have baked for 10 mins, arrange shrimp over the top in a single layer and return pan to the oven. Roast until shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 8-10 mins.
- Serve shrimp, tomatoes and polenta warm with pancetta crisps on top. Enjoy!
Subbing pancetta for halloumi cheese:
Swap the pancetta rounds for 7-8 oz of thinly sliced halloumi cheese. Arrange the slices on the parchment as you would the pancetta and bake for 10-12 mins, or until crisp and brown on the edges (it'll still have a bit of that halloumi 'squeak' in the middle). Set aside to enjoy with the finished dish.
Seasoning the polenta:
Knowing that the brand of prepared polenta I usually buy is quite bland, I opted to liberally season the rounds with salt and pepper before arranging them on the sheet pan and topping them with the tomatoes.
OH! before you go…
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There’s a thing hiccuping inside you, you’re prepping meals – sheet is getting real!! Ahhh!! I just got Molly’s book in the mail last week! So pumped to roast some yummies on a sheet pan! This, all this with that halloumi – I want it for breakfast right now! It all looks amazing!
INSIDE OF ME, Grace. It won’t cease to seem insane. And you’re gonna love cooking from Molly’s book — there’s just too much good stuff. (That brunch chapter seriously makes my heart only too happy…) Enjoy!! <3
We’ve had unseasonably warm sunny weather here in Gothenburg, and I’ve been contemplating halloumi! Wonderful idea to sub it in for the pancetta 🙂
It’s been crazy warm here, too, though you won’t hear me complain. And waitaminute…how did I not know you’re in Gothenburg? I’m not the most worldly of beings, but I had the privilege of traveling to Gothenburg (for work and some sightseeing) a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. So charming and friendly — and the setting reminded me just a little of SF. I’m itching to take my husband back one day so he can experience it for himself!
Btw, I’ve nominated The Pig and Quill for the Saveur blog awards 🙂 I think your way of writing is unique and your presentation is clean and fresh! (anyone reading this who doesn’t know, Saveur has food blog awards! Go here to nominate; http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate)
Awh, that is only too sweet, Kristin. Thank you thank you thank you! <3 <3 <3
Looks so fresh and delicious! I love Molly’s book. Try the roasted sausage, grapes + polenta next! 🙂
It’s so funny you say that, Ileana — that recipe was SUCH a close second; I’m sure it’ll make its way to the dinner table shortly!
Oh my gosh! Em, that looks freaking amazing. Definitely bookmarking it! And yayy for excitement! Chris was talking about birthing class yesterday.. and then showed me and Eric a photo of you because he was like.. yeah, it’s crazy! All of a sudden she’s like, bam! There’s a baby there! <3 So excited for you both!
Oh man, Alice — it IS like “BAM!” I’ve completely ballooned overnight. I think our little girl decided she better make the most of these last few weeks if she wants to bulk up for the real world. A little porker after my own heart! <3
It’s always nice when I come across someone who knows where it is! 🙂 I guess with a little one on the way it will be a while before you travel this far, but if you do, look me up! 🙂
I dunno, Kristin – babes fly free! 😉
Amazingly colorful! Looks delicious!
Thanks, Trish! Really helps with that whole “eat with your eyes first” thing, huh?:)
This looks so good. It’s like sunshine in food form. I love the line, “I’m growing something that hiccups.
Is life not an absolute trip?”
It is!!! Good luck with the little one!
Thanks Tammy! I need all the luck (and advice and good vibes and instinctive mothering mojo…) I can get!
This looks fantastic! I will be trying this recipe very soon!
Yeah girl, do it do it do it!!
I am loving the addition of halloumi & how vibrant the colours of this dish are. You can just tell that it’s super delicious!
Thanks Thalia! I’d say it kinda adds a dose of summer to the dreary temps, but the temps out here haven’t been so dreary. 🙂 Definitely a cheery dish if you’re fighting the winter blues, though!
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I love this!!! Such a lovely tribute to Molly, and OMG THOSE HALLOUMI CRISPS. I can’t not type in caps about them. With a bit of the halloumi “squeak” in the middle left?! Y-E-S.
*squuuuuuuuuuueak* Crispy cheese – it’s a beautiful thing! Thanks, Cynthia. 🙂
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Awwwwweee you’ve got a hiccuper! My little guy got the hiccups every day around 2pm like clockwork from womb to 6 months- so weird. If you think your tripping out in wonderment now just wait till they come out and grow like an inch per day, it is wild!!! This looks fab, sheet pan brunch heck yes, need to get my hands on that!
I do, indeed, Chantelle! She gets ’em at least a few times a day, probably because she’s picked up her momma’s piggy traits and is just gulping down all the things. 🙂 And I can only imagine what it will be like to witness her growing on the outside. I’m sure it’s going to fly right on by!
OMG, Em. All I know is after I read that there were little hiccups happening in your little belly I about died!!! YAYYYY and so you to be planning ahead on all your meals. You’ve already won best mom and wife in my book.
Totally unrelated but relevant to this post: HALLOUMI CRISPS! Omg I’ll take all of them. And a whole sheet of the other stuff too. I guess. Cause I don’t have a little hiccup machine in my belly so I have no excuse to eat whatever the heck I want (aka ALL THE HALLOUMI CRISPS).
Oh man, you are too kind. Planning meals (at least a few — I mean, we’ll see how far I get with that for realz…) is part of my therapy. Preparing for something you can never be fully prepared for is kind of mind-boggling, so I’m just focusing on the small things I can control in the meantime. If that means I end up eating casseroles swimming in cream o’ mushroom soup in July, so be it!
This is so light, mouthwatering & AWESOMEEEEEE. I love it. It could definitely be my dinner sometime very soon. Love your photos as well, Em.
P.S. Thank you so much for introducing me to Molly 🙂
Thanks, Pang! And so glad I could introduce you to Molly – she’s a gem! 🙂
I LOVE this recipe and can’t wait to get Molly’s book! This is the kind of cooking I do most nights. Excellent!!
Exactly, Kate — it’s just super easy, accessible and somehow still impressive cooking that’s perfect for weeknights. You’ll love Molly’s book! Thanks for popping by (and thanks for the linky love!!). <3
Your excited – thats super exciting! So is this damn meal and now I am craving shrimps and haloumi!
There are far worse things you could be craving than shrimp + halloumi, Bec! (Take this from the preggo who had a pretty strong hot dogs + potatoes thing going just a couple months back…)
I made this tonight for dinner and my boyfriend and I are officially obsessed. The polenta, tomatoes, and shrimp are so delicious together. We didn’t add haloumi or pancetta, although I can see why they would be amazing in this dish. Also, so insanely easy. Can’t wait to make this for dinner with my ladies!
Oh, so glad you gave it a try, Leah! Molly totally nailed it — such a simple recipe, and it’s almost TOO easy (especially considering how pretty it presents when all is said and done). Sounds perfect for a ladies din! 🙂
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P.S. I made this a couple days after you posted and it was incredible! I couldn’t find any haloumi (boo), so we just used pancetta. I’m coming back because we’re making it again tonight! Uhm. If I ever get away from work.
Oh, so glad you liked it enough for an encore performance, Alice! I’m sure it’s awesome with the pancetta. That is how it was designed, after all!
Forgot the polenta… but the halloumi was amazing! Had to keep slapping Sam’s hand to keep him from eating all of it before dinner 😛
I suppose if I had to skip either the polenta or the halloumi, I’d say buh-bye cornmeal, hello CHEEEEEZ!
I made this with the pancetta, it was delicious. Thumbs up!
Hi Mandy! Sorry for the delay — have been on a blogcation for the past little bit here. So glad you enjoyed it! The (original) pancetta method is so seriously delish. 🙂
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