Rummaging through the freezer I came across a bag of peeled, uncooked shrimp waiting for inspiration. After looking through a couple of cookbooks and scavenging the Interwebs I came across a recipe similar to the one below. I made a few modifications and, presto, dinner was served.
Lemony Shrimp with Garlic Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups water
1 tsp. kosher salt (plus more for seasoning the shrimp)
1 cup chicken stock (unsalted if you can find it)
2 lemons, sliced into rings
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and toss to coat with oil. Toast the rice for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the water, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover, return to heat and reduce to low. Cook for 15 minutes.
Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
While the rice cooks heat the chicken stock, lemon rings and paprika in a non-stick skillet over low heat until it is simmering; about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the butter and swirl it among the shrimp to create a slightly creamy sauce. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and taste. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Serve shrimp over a generous helping of garlicky rice.
This sounds pretty fancy however it can come together in 35 minutes. You can even make this a one-pan meal if you want, though two skillets are necessary to hit less than 30 minutes.
An agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce. I’ve added a flavor boost with some anchovy paste and a bit of sriracha. Neither is really noticeable with all the vinegar and sugar. They’d be missed if they weren’t there though.
Pan Roasted Cod Agrodolce
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30-40 minutes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ strips
1 red onion, cut int 1/4″ strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
2 – 4 cod fillets (between 1/2″ and 1″ thick)
kosher salt and black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with the oil and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
While the peppers cook combine the vinegars, sugar, anchovy and sriracha in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir the sauce into the skillet until the onions and pepper are coated. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, about 10 minutes.
When the sauce is reduce transfer it to a clean bowl and cover it with a plate (or plastic wrap) to keep warm. Wipe on the skillet as best you can and return the skillet to medium heat.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Pat dry the cod fillets, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes on the first side, carefully flip to the uncooked side and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The fillets should be opaque all the way through. An instant read thermometer will hit 140°F when the fish is done.
To serve spoon the onion/pepper mixture onto your plate and place a piece of cooked cod on top. Tilt the pan and gather a spoonful of sauce, drizzle this over the fish. A bit of freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkling from on high of sea salt will add a nice finish. I served it with a rice/quinoa I found in the grocery freezer section.
If you want to dirty an extra pan you can cook the fish in a second skillet when the sauce has reduced for 5 minutes.
I have a small squeeze tube of anchovy paste that I use in dishes such as this. I picked it up in the Italian food section of my local grocery store and keep it in the fridge along with a tube of tomato paste. The great thing about paste in a tube is it will last longer because there is little to no air in contact with the unused portion. Plus it had a “good until” date of two years into the future so I don’t have to find 17 uses for anchovy paste in one week.
It takes longer to cook a pot of white rice than it does to make this dish. So start your rice and then take your time prepping your ingredients. Once the rice is cooked throw a clean towel between the pot and cover to absorb steam. Then spend 3-5 minutes cooking the shrimp.
Shrimp Stir-Fry II
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 13 minutes
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
kosher salt & black pepper
Combine the sherry and soy sauce in a bowl; add shrimp and toss until coated with the liquid. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate. Combine the chives, garlic, ginger and 1 tsp. peanut oil in a bowl; set aside. Mix water, sesame oil, Worcestershire, sugar and cornstarch together; set aside.
Put the remaining 1 Tbsp. peanut oil in a non-skillet and heat over high heat, 3-4 minutes. Add the shrimp in a single layer and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 1 minute. Move the shrimp to the edge of the pan.
Add the chive mixture and press into a flat disk; cook until fragrant then toss/stir into shrimp.
Quickly remix the cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet. Mix in with the shrimp and cook until it thickens, 30-40 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve over rice. Add freshly ground black pepper and/or Sriracha sauce to taste.
I try to buy already deveined shrimp because deveining shrimp is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks. Just remember that you are removing the vein on the outside curve of the shrimp, not the one that is on the inside curve. The outside one is the intestine, the inside one is just a regular blood vessel. For a nice visual on how to devein shrimp visit SimpleRecipes.com
Tilapia is a go-to protein for us during the week. I keep a bag of warehouse store filets in the freezer. I can pull 3 filets out of the freezer, thaw them quickly in the sink while I prep a side dish and have dinner ready in 30 minutes.
Pan-fried tilapia with onion couscous and tomato-cucumber salad.
Tonight we enjoyed the fish with a side of onion couscous and a quick salad of garden fresh tomatoes, thyme, a cucumber from a co-worker and a quick vinaigrette.
I subscribe to a number of food company’s e-mail lists in the hopes of the occasional coupon. Mostly they send recipes using their products; there’s nothing wrong with that. This dish was inspired by a recipe from Campbell’s for what they called Asian Shrimp Stir-fry.
I took their recipe as a guide, replaced an ingredient or two I didn’t have on hand and reduced the sodium a lot. It was quite good over plain white rice.
Shrimp, peppers and onions with an Asian flavor profile.
A local tapas place offers shrimp burgers. We don’t get to the restaurant that often though, and we really dig them. So I after some web surfing I found a recipe from Chef Marcela Valladolid off the Today show website. I made a few mods to fit what I had on hand.
1 lb. medium frozen shrimp, thawed, shelled and deveined
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp. chopped shallot
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
15 grinds of cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp.canola oil
burger rolls, split in half
Rough chop one half of the shrimp and set aside in a large bowl.
Place the remaining shrimp in a food processor and grind to a coarse puree. Add the egg, cilantro and garlic to food processor and process until smooth. Added the Panko and process to combine.
Transfer the mixture from the food processor to the large bowl with the chopped shrimp. Add the poblano, shallot, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Chill mixture for at least 15 minutes.
Divide the mixture into 4 parts and form patties. I used a round cookie cutter about the size of the burger buns as a guide, packing the shrimp mixture into the cutter. To remove the cutter I ran a table knife around the inside of the ring and lifted the cutter. After all 4 patties are formed chill again for 5-10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the patties and cook for 3 minutes on the first side. Flip the patties and cook for 2 minutes on the second side. Remove the patties and cover to keep warm.
Wipe any excess oil from the pan and toast the burger buns.
We served these with a bit of spicy mayo (see notes) and a few mixed salad greens on each burger.
I have found that 1 pound of frozen shrimp, when thawed and patted dry, equals about 12 oz. of usable shrimp.
For spicy mayo mix 3 parts mayo to 1 part sriracha .
There’s a restaurant just outside of Harvard Square in Boston where my husband enjoyed a lobster melt some years back. It sounded good at the time and I had a hankering for one to celebrate the summer holiday.
I picked up a couple of 1# lobsters at the supermarket and had them steam them while I finished my shopping. The next day I pulled the meat from the shell and chopped it up a bit so that there were large pieces of meat rather than a whole lobster tail.
During the day Ted made a loaf of yummy bread. Once it was cool I cut a couple of thick pieces off for each of us.
I added about 2 tablespoons of mayo to the lobster meat along with a bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Basically a very lightly doctored lobster salad.
I then made what is in essence a grilled cheese sandwich, with lobster salad, cheddar cheese and bacon. Because everything is better with bacon!