Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Whole shrimp. With heads. And tentacles. All edible. I debated for a while about posting this recipe, which resulted in no blog updates for a week. It tasted fabulous, so much so that we made it twice in one week. But its appearance might be off-putting, possibly intimidating. The shrimp are meant to be eaten in their entirety. In fact, they taste best when eaten this way, since the salty-sweet pepper mixture coats the crunchy shell.

We brought a shrimp to our neighbor so he could try one. He took one look at it and declared us “adventurous eaters.” Hidden meaning: “No way I’m putting that thing in my mouth.” I never really thought of myself as an adventurous eater. I’m not as adventurous as my friend Julia, who has eaten donkey, tripe, live squid, and fried silk worms. Does eating shrimp legs and heads constitute as adventurous eating? The tyke loved the shrimp. Of course, he’ll eat just about anything that’s deep fried.

So here is my question for you readers: if presented with a plate of these succulent, fragrant shrimp, how much of them would you eat? Shell? Legs? Tail? Head?

adapted from a recipe by Luke Nguyen

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Ingredients

1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar
Vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 Tbs more
8 large whole shrimp
1 ½ c cornstarch
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs minced shallot
1 tsp minced fresh red chile or jalepeno chile
3 green onions, green and light green sections sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 lime, quartered

Instructions

  1. Place salt, pepper, and five spice powder in a hot pan over medium high heat.Dry roast for about 1 minute, stirring a few times.Remove from heat to a bowl, and let cool.Stir in sugar.Set aside.
  2. Place enough oil in a fryer or a dutch oven to reach a 3-inch depth.Heat oil to 300ºF.Place cornstarch in a large bowl.Dredge the shrimp in the cornstarch, shaking off excess.Place four shrimp in the hot oil and fry for 1 minute.Remove with a slotted spoon onto a cooling rack.Repeat with remaining shrimp.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.Add garlic, shallot, chile, and green onions.Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add shrimp, tossing to combine.Sprinkle salt and pepper mixture onto the shrimp as you toss, making sure to coat the shrimp well.Remove from heat and serve immediately.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/salt-and-pepper-shrimp/

 

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Shrimp and Grits

Hello, again! I got caught up in a whirlwind this holiday season. Musicians have to work when the jobs come along. Usually, that means working on holidays. I finally finished all my gigs – the last one being this evening. I must say, playing outdoors when it is 40 degrees and falling is no fun. But getting paid while shivering definitely helps take the edge off.

Every so often, Hubs and I crave shrimp and grits. We had John Besh’s cookbook lying around, and tried his version. His recipe uses a homemade creole seasoning, which is super easy to make. It tastes way better than the stuff you buy in a can. The grits came out silky smooth, and the shrimp topping was the perfect combination of smoky, salty, and spicy.


Adapted from My New Orleans
By John Besh

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

Grits
1 tsp salt
1 c white grits
2 Tbs butter
½ c mascarpone cheese
Shrimp
2 Tbs olive oil
1 ½ lb medium shrimp
Creole Seasoning (recipe below)
Salt
Other
1/2 c diced andouille sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 roasted red pepper
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
2 c shrimp stock (can substitute chicken stock mixed with some clam juice)
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 c canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
½ c fresh chervil sprigs

Instructions

  1. For the grits: Place 4 c water in a medium saucepan. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Slowly pour the grits in, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, stirring frequently to keep the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the butter and mascarpone. Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the grits to prevent a crust from forming.
  2. For the shrimp: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with Creole seasoning and salt. Saute until the shrimp begin to brown but are not cooked all the way through. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the andouille, garlic, shallots, peppers, and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butter and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened a little.
  3. Return the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, diced tomatoes, and chives.
  4. To serve, spoon a heaping ¼ c of grits into the center of a bowl. Spoon shrimp and andouille mixture over the grits. Garnish with chervil.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/12/shrimp-and-grits/

 

Creole Seasoning

Ingredients

2 Tbs celery salt
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs coarse sea salt
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
1Tbs onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp allspice

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container. Will last for up to six months.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/12/shrimp-and-grits/

 

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Shrimp Summer Rolls

We had an abundance of rice vermicelli and carrots in our fridge, so hubs found this recipe for summer rolls. Neither of us had worked with the rice paper before, and I was skeptical that the stiff boards would become the pliable, soft wrappers that I’ve enjoyed in many Thai and Vietnamese restaurants.


The ingredients took some time to prep, but once ready, the rolls came together very easily. The Thai chili peppers were extremely spicy, I had to pick a few out because my mouth was burning up. Hubs liked the heat. I adjusted the amount in the below recipe to accommodate this. We also had some leftover peanut sauce, which worked perfectly with these. They were hearty enough to have as a lunch, although they would work as a great appetizer.

Summer Rolls with Shrimp
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
January 2002

1 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce
2 1/2 tsp lime juice
5 oz rice vermicelli, cooked and cooled
8 oz medium cooked shrimp, peeled with tails removed
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/3 c chopped roasted peanuts
1 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 large cucumber, peeled
4 leaves of Boston lettuce, halved lengthwise
8 round rice paper wrappers (8-inch diameter)
1/2 c loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves
1/2 c loosely packed cilantro leaves

Combine sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in a small bowl. Toss 2 Tbs of the mixture with the rice vermicelli and set aside.

Coarsely chop shrimp. In a separate bowl, combine carrot, peanuts, and jalepeno in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbs of the fish sauce mixture; toss to combine. Cut peeled cucumber in half crosswise. Cut 1/4 inch planks from outermost part of each half, leaving the seeds behind. Cut each plank into 1/8 inch strips. Toss cucumber in the remaining fish sauce mixture.

Place lettuce on a platter. Spread a clean, damp kitchen towel on a work surface. Fill a 9-inch pie plate with 1 inch of room temperature water. Working one at a time, immerse each wrapper in water, making sure both sides get wet. Lay wrapper on a towel. Scatter basil and cilantro over the wrapper. Lay 5 strips of cucumber slices on the wrapper. Layer carrot mixture, noodles, and shrimp over the cucumbers. Fold burrito-style and roll closed, making sure the filling is tightly packed. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Wrap lettuce around each roll and serve.

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