Sunday, August 06, 2006

What to do with shrimp without using a recipe

I recently visited dear cousins in Montreal and my cousin (who insists she destroys everything she touches in the kitchen) asked me what she could do to shrimp without using a recipe. She's surely not alone with this dilemma, so......

I always stock raw shrimp in my freezer. Defrosting takes 5 minutes or so. Just put them in a bowl in the sink and let cold water constantly run over the bowl. This speeds up the defrosting process without making for soggy shrimp. I buy deveined shrimp in their shells, but you can buy them already peeled. Only buy frozen cooked shrimp if you want to have some on hand for salads or sandwiches. Otherwise they'll just turn rubbery when you go to "cook" them.

Shrimp really take no time to cook - 3-4 minutes for medium, 5 minutes for large ones, 6-7 minutes for jumbo no matter how you choose to cook them.

3 most common ways I cook shrimp:
Sauté:
1. Use a non stick pan over medium high heat.

2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and, if you’re like me, add some minced fresh garlic.

3. As soon as you smell the garlic (about 1 minute) add the shrimp and 1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried herbs. (Dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh so you need less). My favorites for shrimp are basil, oregano & parsley, but experiment with your favorite. If you like spicy food, add a pinch of your favorite heat - red chilli pepper flakes, hot sauce, whatever you fancy.

4. Add a squirt of lemon juice and toss. The shrimps are ready when they turn pink.

Bake:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C

2. Use an oven-proof dish and combine all the above ingredients. Toss to make sure all the shrimp are coated. Try to keep them in one layer for more even cooking. That way they’ll all be ready at the same time. You don’t need to flip the shrimp.

Grill (usually on the BBQ):
1. If your BBQ rack has large spaces between the rungs, you need to use skewers or a basket to cook your shrimp so they don’t fall through the grate. If the spaces are small, you can place jumbo shrimp directly on the grill.

2. While the BBQ is heating up, toss the shrimp with all the above ingredients in a bowl. Let them marinate for a few minutes (just the time to heat up the grill).

3. Grill for 3 minutes or so and turn.

Let's see what ideas others come up with.If there's anyone out there with other ideas, please share them in the comments. I'll be doing a roundup with all your brilliant tips.

Please email me any of your questions, and if I don't have the answer, I'll certainly try find it for you.

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