Food + Dining Main

HOT DISH: A “Whole” Lot of Help for Fresh Dinners at Home

A savory surprise left our dining editor with a delicious dinner on a recent trip to Whole Foods.

BY April 8, 2015


Although Easter has come and gone, there’s good reason to wager that the traffic, event schedule, beaches and, yes, restaurants will still be hectic as ever, at least until the afternoon rains set in and the mercury shoots way up.

On a recent shopping trip to Whole Foods, a little printed sign caught my eye, and the essence was as such: Buy any fresh fish and we’ll cook it for you while you shop. Circling the aisles with a stroller and a shopping cart in tow, a normal trip to stock my fridge can last anywhere from 25 minutes on a really good day to over an hour should my little peanut decide to take a snooze. I’m not a huge fan of the food-bar section of the store (there’s just something about the lukewarm picked-over trays that leave me cold), but I was pressed for time that evening, so I thought, why not?

When I approached the counter in the back, an especially friendly fishmonger named Quentin offered to be my personal chef for the day. I told him I was tempted by the U16 shrimp in the display case, and he said he had a recipe from his personal repertoire he’d be willing to prepare. Did I like peppers? Was scampi butter okay? Yes and yes, and off I saw him running to the produce section while I was able to meander around my normal route, grabbing fruit, rice, cheeses, peanut butter and bread. Half an hour later, I snaked my way back to pick up Quentin’s masterpiece. What started as a pound and a half of $10/lb shrimp came to roughly 2 pounds ($19 in total) of perfectly sautéed crustaceans accented by a finely diced assortment of red, yellow and green bell peppers and slivers of red onion, all with a hint of seafood seasoning and a touch of creaminess from the butter. When I got home, I threw a pot of couscous on the stove, and no sooner did I finish emptying my trunk than I was able to lay Quentin’s special shrimp on a bed of fluffy couscous and sprinkle with feta for a fresh, satisfying dinner—with minimal effort and a whole lot of time saved. Even if I’m not in a pinch, I may pay Quentin a visit, just to see what more of his tasty repertoire he’d be willing to cook up behind that counter.


Related Images: