Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spotlight on: shrimp

Shrimp is one of my favorite foods to have on hand. I buy it frozen in large, two-pound bags, and use as much or as little of it as I need at one time. It's easier to prepare for one person than a piece of meat, because I can control exactly how much I'm using. It takes hardly any time at all to thaw. And it's incredibly versatile. I recently prepared two different shrimp dishes, and both were delicious.

One: Spicy Mexican Shrimp

Preparing shrimp in this way is really easy, but incredibly flavorful. Make a spice blend using about 1 T each: chile powder, garlic salt, cumin, brown sugar, and 1 tsp. each of black pepper and dried oregano. Toss thawed shrimp in blend and saute (with some green onions, if you like) until cooked and heated through. Serve over rice, or in tortillas. Can also top with mango salsa, made with diced mango, onion, jalapeno, tomato, and lemon/lime juice.

Two: Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

This just kind of happened the other night. I'd thought about trying bacon-wrapped shrimp before, and finally got around to it. In my head, I imagined it to be easy, but dreaded that in reality, I would run into problems, with the bacon falling off the shrimp, etc. Luckily, there were no problems, and it was easy! I used half a piece of bacon for each piece of shrimp, simply wrapped it around, and pan-fried. A few considerations that will make this dish a piece of cake:

  • If there is a lot of fat on one end of the bacon, cut it off (before wrapping).
  • Frozen shrimp can be bought raw or pre-cooked. Make sure to use raw for this, as otherwise the shrimp will be over-cooked.
  • Wrap all the shrimp first, and then put it in the pan, so it cooks at the same rate.
  • One side of the shrimp should have the two ends of bacon, overlapping. But this side face-down into the pan first.
  • Do not move the shrimp until you are ready to flip it.
  • After flipping the shrimp, use a toothpick to secure the two ends. This will also make the shrimp easy to serve.