Hot or cold, shrimp is simple
Shrimp are exceptionally convenient to cook with when you buy them in the bag shelled, deveined and individually frozen so each shrimp is separate. You can just pour the shrimp from the container right into flavorful sauces to make quick, elegant hot dishes and they thaw quickly for salads or dunking into cocktail sauce.
All things considered shrimp make a very economical meal as well as a very delicious one. Hot or cold shrimp always seem to be a treat and if you don't have to go through the shelling and deveining process they are a big time saver as well.
When you use frozen shrimp be certain to close the container well and return in a flash to the freezer. Once thawed and then refrozen they become softer and a bit wimpy. Because the shrimp we buy frozen have been flash-frozen almost immediately after they leave the water, they give those of us who don't live on southern coasts the ability to experience shrimp as though they were fresh, straight from the ocean.
Shrimp come in many sizes, the smallest so small that you can hardly find them in a salad or pasta dish. Use these babies for hors d'oeuvres or making a shrimp paste. The largest and most expensive shrimp are mostly for show or high-end cocktail parties--the very largest often come from India. The smaller the shrimp the more quickly it will cook and vice versa.
Shrimp with Dried Tomatoes and Linguine
Any string-style pasta can be used in this unusual recipe which calls for very little cooking liquid. There is no sauce; the pasta absorbs all of the liquid. The dried tomatoes preserved in oil will during cooking turn the pasta to a rich brown color. If you prefer use dried tomato slices. Either will do the job. Makes 4 servings.
2 teaspoons olive oil
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir olive oil and garlic but do not let garlic brown. Add lemon juice, wine, broth and dried tomatoes. Turn heat to high and stir often until mixture comes to a boil. Add pasta, return to a boil and then add the shrimp. Stir often until pasta is tender and shrimp are opaque but moist-looking in center (cut one to check), 5 to 8 minutes should do it. Ladle into bowls and serve sprinkled with scallions.
Big Spring Shrimp Salad
If you are cooking shrimp for another recipe save some for this dish and also save any leftover potatoes. You can quickly cook potatoes in the microwave while putting the salad together if you don't have leftovers. To make things even easier, you can substitute bottled Ranch or Thousand Island dressing.
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 hearts of Romaine or other lettuce, sliced
Dressing: Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, onion, sugar, paprika, salt and cayenne plus pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Then whisk in 1 tablespoon water. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few days.
Salad: Divide the lettuce between 2 plates. Top with potatoes, egg, tomato wedges, avocado, cucumber and shrimp. Drizzle with the dressing and top with croutons or serve with crisp bread or toast.
Lemon Basil Shrimp with Rice
This is another quick meal. Start the rice and then cook the shrimp. Rice triples when you cook it so this recipe actually requires only 1 cup uncooked rice. Makes 4 servings.
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
In a large frying pan over high heat, combine chili flakes, lemon peel, lemon juice and broth. When the broth mixture boils, add shrimp and stir often until shrimp are opaque but moist-looking in the center of the thickest part, 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile stir cornstarch and water together eliminating any lumps. Whisk mixture into pan; stir until boiling again and mixture thickens a bit. Add the basil. Mound the rice equally in centers of 4 serving bowls and then ladle the shrimp mixture around the rice.
Skye on a Plate
On the Isle of Skye they make this with small lobsters or langoustines. Shrimp is their second choice but it is my first choice as I prefer the texture of shrimp and also the price. Whatever your taste buds or you pocketbook prefers is just fine. Makes 6 servings as a very pretty first course with the flowers and greenery decorating the plate rims.
2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; remove from heat. Add shrimp; let stand until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Mix together lemon juice, sugar and mustard; whisk in the oil. Mix in onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange greens, herbs and flowers in small clusters around plates. Toss shrimp with half of the dressing. Arrange in center of plates. Drizzle some of the dressing over the greens and serve.
Shrimp may be small but they pack a big whallop.