up in the Pacific Northwest I was fortunate enough to enjoy
a wide variety of fresh fish and shellfish. It was not uncommon
to order fresh (and I mean just caught) shrimp for parties
or small family gatherings. There is nothing better than crack
and peel shrimp
the flavor almost lobster-like
at half the cost! Since then my family has moved all over
the country and I must admit I truly miss that fresh from
the sea experience.
Nevertheless, our family still enjoys shrimp
on a frequent basis. Perhaps because it is relatively inexpensive,
or perhaps because it is easy and quick to cook or perhaps
because it contains protein without lots of fat, beneficial
Omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients like zinc. Whatever
the reason, shrimp is a wonderful food, perfect for stir-frys,
soups, grills, sautés and much, much more.
It is important to know that commercial
shrimp is bought and sold in huge quantities because of its
popularity and because it freezes well, almost all shrimp
is frozen before sale. Much of the shrimp we purchase these
days is farm-raised. There are hundreds of species of shrimp
or prawns harvested worldwide, but only a few are likely to
appear in your fish stores or local grocery stores. Here is
a list of the most common shrimp and prawns you will find:
Shrimp & Prawns:
Gulf White: These shrimp are usually wild,
but are still sometimes farm raised. They can be very large
and have pale shells.
Mexican White: Frequently farm-raised and
quite similar to Gulf White Shrimp.
Gulf Pink or Brown: These shrimp are most
often wild. They are typically not as big as the Gulf White
and they have pinkish or brownish shells. Often these shrimp
taste of iodine (a taste that many enjoy around the country).
Black Tiger: These are the most common shrimp
available at most supermarkets. These shrimp are almost always
farm-raised, and almost always from Asia. They are fairly
high in quality but not always as flavorful as some of the
other species. Black Tiger shrimp have gray shells with black,
red or yellow feelers.
Fresh shrimp is firm with a fairly hard
shell. As a rule of thumb, the softer the shells, the older
the shrimp. If youve ever have the opportunity to buy
shrimp right off a shrimp boat, you will have find that the
shrimp are a little difficult to peel and the shells are quite
hard. Shrimp this fresh have an incredible flavor with absolutely
no fishy taste.
If you cant get your hands on fresh
shrimp, frozen shrimp will have to do. It still is important
to look for the best quality shrimp in your grocers
case. Except for the Black Tiger shrimp, make sure to avoid
shrimp with black spots on their shells or yellow or gritty
shells. This indicates spoilage. It is also advisable to avoid
shrimp with dry spots this could indicate freezer burn.
Do not thaw shrimp until the day before
you are ready to eat them. The best method to defrost shrimp
is to place them in the refrigerator or in a bowl of running
water. If they are fresh or recently thawed, place them on
a bed of ice with drainage for the melting ice (avoid having
them soak in water).
To remove the shrimp heads, simply gently
tug on the head. Hold the shrimp in one hand and separate
the shell. Usually the shell can be removed in one piece.
To devein, make a shallow cut along the outside curl and remove
the vein with your fingers or the tip of your knife.
Now that you have the basics
the recipes! From a limitless list, this month we have selected
some of our favorite shrimp recipes for you and your family
One of our very favorite quick &
easy appetizers these will be gone in minutes so you
may want to make a double batch!
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
and with tails left intact
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive
oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium heat. Add
onions and garlic; sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove onions and garlic from skillet and set aside in a bowl.
Add remaining oil and butter to skillet. When hot, add shrimp
and sauté until opaque, about 3 minutes.
Return onions and garlic, along with cilantro, to skillet
and toss with shrimp. Adjust seasonings to taste with lime
juice and salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon shrimp onto a serving plate and top with onion mixture.
Serve immediately. Provide toothpicks. (Makes 8-10 servings
4 servings if your guests love shrimp!)
Saffron Risotto with Fennel-Spiced Shrimp
A delightful one dish meal. Simply make
the risotto and top with fennel-spiced sautéed shrimp.
Serve with a refreshing salad for a complete menu!
(For the Fennel-Spiced Shrimp)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly ground
in a mortar and pestle
- 1 lb. medium-sized shrimp, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(For the Saffron Risotto)
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1-1/4 cup Arborio rice
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1 fresh tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 5 cups gf Chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Place the olive oil, fennel, shrimp and
salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl and toss to
coat the shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Pour the gf chicken stock in a saucepan
and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.
Place a large shallow saucepan over medium
heat and add the oil. Add the shallots, carrot and celery
and cook until vegetables have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the saffron
and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook
until it has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of
the chicken stock to the rice mixture, stirring constantly
until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Continue adding
the broth, _ cup at a time, and cook until all the liquid
has been absorbed after each addition, stirring well throughout.
Continue this process for about 18-20 minutes or until the
rice is al dente. Add the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
and stir until incorporated. Adjust seasonings to taste with
salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and let sit while
you prepare the shrimp.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and cook until it turns
pink, about 3-4 minutes.
Spoon the risotto into shallow pasta bowls
and top with fennel-spiced shrimp. Garnish with fresh Italian
parsley and serve. (Serves 4)
Spring Seafood Stew
This wonderful stew has amazing flavor
and is light enough to be enjoyed all spring long.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium leek, white and tender green
parts only, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups gf Chicken stock
- 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 3/4 lb. small bay scallops
- 2 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh Italian parsley,
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven
over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic; sauté for
4 minutes or until tender. Add the wine and chicken stock;
bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and scallops. Reduce heat
and simmer 3-5 minutes or until shrimp and scallops are just
Remove the shrimp and scallops from the
pan with a large slotted spoon. Transfer to a bowl and tent
loosely with foil to keep warm. Bring the broth mixture back
to a boil; cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add
the butter, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in the
chopped tomato, tarragon, Italian parsley and lemon zest.
Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, freshly ground black
pepper and hot red pepper flakes. Divide the shrimp and scallops
evenly among 4 shallow soup bowls and spoon about 3/4 cup
of the broth mixture over the top. Serve immediately. (Serves