Easy sheetpan dinner with eggplant, shrimp, and harissa

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Nothing beats the ease of a sheetpan dinner. They’re quick, easy, require very little hands-on time, and usually only few dishes.

This one from Melissa Clark’s cookbook Dinner has become a favorite in my house. All of the above are true, but it checks two other significant boxes: it is also remarkably flavorful and, once we have an eggplant, calls for ingredients that live in our freezer and pantry.

The flavor comes from harissa, a North African pepper sauce. If you haven’t had harissa, you’re in for a treat. It’s really special, a one-stop step to deliciousness. Now I know you’re thinking “eh, I’m not too excited about adding one more kind of expensive thing that I will use once to my pantry. Harissa isn’t one of those things. It’s an instant upgrade and I use it ALL the time. Add it to shakshuka, chickpeas and chicken in this one-pot wonder, or to flavor 20-minute lettuce cups. These are some of my weeknight staples because they’re easy, ready in no time, and don’t compromise on flavor.

A few notes on other ingredients:

  • If you don’t have cumin, buy it. I promise this won’t be another un-used spice vying for precious kitchen space.

  • If you don’t have cumin seeds, don’t sweat it. They’re tasty, but a total bonus. The dish won’t miss them.

  • Yep, this recipe calls for shrimp. No, I didn’t go out and buy it. Frozen shrimp (uncooked, shell off) is a steal and a weeknight wonder. It defrosts in under 10 minutes, so it’s a dream for last minute meals.

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Roasted eggplant and Shrimp with Harissa

from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks


  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • 2 tablespoons harissa


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin


  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • 12 ounces shrimp, shelled


  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds


  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 (store bought or from 1 lemon)

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint


TooLs

  • 2 sheet pans/baking sheets, 1 large, 1 smaller

  • mixing bowl

  • knife

  • measuring spoons

  • citrus zester and juicer (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup olive oil, harissa, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt.

  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the eggplant to the baking sheet, drizzle with the harissa mixture, and toss to coat. Spread the eggplant in a single layer.

    *note: when I’m extra lazy I skip the small bowl and mix the oil, harissa, cumin, and salt directly on the baking sheet with the eggplant

  4. Roast eggplant for 20 minutes.

  5. While the eggplant is roasting, in a large bowl, combine the shrimp, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, lemon zest, remaining salt, and pepper.

    *note: If you don’t have lemon or cumin seeds, don’t worry. This will still be delicious. You can also sub a few squirts of lemon juice for the zest.

  6. Spread the shrimp on a smaller baking sheet lined with parchment.

  7. After the eggplant has been in for 20 minutes, raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and add the shrimp to the oven.

  8. Leave both trays in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes. The shrimp are done when they are a little white in color and they've formed a C shape. The eggplant is done when it is browned and soft. It may need a few extra minutes.

  9. Combine the shrimp and eggplant and top with lemon juice and mint.