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I love shrimp. Especially with red chili flakes. They are low in calories, low in fat and taste great. They do have a good amount of cholesterol though. We make shrimp with rice or pasta once every few weeks in the summer. Sometimes we grill them and other times we saute them on the stove.

Recently I purchased Lynne Rosetto Kasper & Sally Swift’s book “The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper” for Nancy because she always listens to the Splendid Table podcast and really likes Lynne. Friday night I decided that I would give the shrimp recipe in the book a try.

We had a great week at the restaurant. Three days this week we had a line out the front door with people lining up in the parking lot. At one point we had 15 people in line waiting to order and every seat was filled in the restaurant, we were running out of clean glasses, we had 12 or 13 tickets hanging and everyone in the restaurant was having a great time. I love days like this when the lunch rush starts at 11:45 and doesn’t end until 2:00.

The hardest part is trying to get the food out in a timely fashion with our very small kitchen. After we get 10 or so tickets hanging we start telling everyone that there will be a 15 or so minute wait to make sure they have the time. Inevitably, on these days, there is always at least one person or group that tells us that everything is cool, but five minutes after they sit down we start getting dirty looks. After another five minutes pass they will come up to the counter to inquire about their order and inform us that they are running out of time and have to be back to the office or to an appointment. We then get the order out to them and 99.9% of the time they forget the wait after they start eating the food and start to enjoy themselves. It would be great if we had a bigger kitchen so we could have more people working on orders, but there is just no space to expand so we continue on.

Today was a bit slow early on, but it finished strong. After work I headed out pretty early and met Nancy at the new Whole Foods store.

Our first stop was the produce area where I picked up some fresh ginger. We then headed over to the cheese area because Nancy wanted to pick up cheese and ciabatta for a small snack before dinner. I picked up some Gorgonzola from Italy, the stuff I used for the polenta and the gnocchi, then we headed over to the seafood section and picked up some 26/30, fresh, deveined shrimp.

Now we were on a roll, so I picked up some sweet dessert wine, I love dessert wine! Then I realized I wanted to make a strata on the weekend to continue my egg cooking quest, so I picked up some heavy cream, bread and some spicy italian sausage to go with the 2 dozen farm eggs we received yesterday in our CSA basket.

Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed a former employee of ours working in the bakery area so we headed over to talk to him and ended up buying a tart and 4 other small pastries. $100 later and after eating the pastries in the parking lot (bad start to eating smart tonight) and sharing notes about what we liked and didn’t we headed home to cook.

The shrimp were super easy to make and we really enjoyed them. Not a match for the gnocchi though, haha. We paired them with some jasmine rice we threw in the rice cooker while the shrimp was marinating and had a light quick meal.The recipe is definitely worth making and may very well be repeated for quests as an appetizer.

Quick note on shrimp before I share the recipe. If you purchase fresh shrimp eat it within 24 hours. Shrimp purchased frozen will maintain it’s quality for several weeks. Don’t purchase shrimp that smell of anything other than salt water. The numbers you hear thrown about like “26/30” mean that there will be 26 to 30 shrimp per pound. The lower the number the bigger the shrimp. For the below recipe I would go with 26/30, which are considered “Extra Large”.

As for deveining, it’s not hard. I prefer to devein any shrimp larger than medium size or just purchase them already deveined.

Ginger Caramel Shrimp (serves 4)

(adapted from The Splendid Table)

Ingredients

BRINE

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup medium-hot chile powder
  • 2 quarts warm water
  • 1 1/2 pounds large frozen or fresh shrimp (see note)

SAUTE

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • One 4-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger
  • 4 tablespoons canola or other mild oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar

In a medium stainless or glass bowl, blend the salt, sugar and chile powder in the warm water. Add the shrimp and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

After shrimp have marinated, drain the shrimp, peel off the shells if you used shelled shrimp and then pat the shrimp dry.

Chop the garlic and ginger together into a small dice, about 1/8 inch. Heat the oil in a 12″ saute pan, straight-sided, over medium heat. Stir in the garlic-ginger mixture, the pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 1 minute stirring with a wooden spatula. Blend in the sugar and keep stirring until the garlic is pale golden in color. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic… do not let the garlic get dark brown.

Add the shrimp and stir for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are turning pink and starting to get firm. Transfer the shrimp to a serving bowl and season to taste. You can serve them hot or warm.

Note: If you are not using frozen shrimp then use cold water instead of warm and place in the refrigerator for the brining step.

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