Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category

We are on a shrimp kick.  Full of flavor, these are delicious in a sandwich or served with some rice.  I omitted the spice for the kids and added a few slices of ginger along with the garlic, but it is most definitely better with some chilis!  (These are served on a bed of sauteed onions, which my Dad always enjoys with shrimp.)


Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced into rounds
4 large scallions (green parts only), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 lb. large shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled and deveined, tails left on
3-1/2 Tbs. peanut or canola oil
1 small lime, cut into 4 wedges


  1. In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five-spice powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chile, and scallions; set aside.
  2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Line a small baking sheet or large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and toss until evenly and thoroughly coated.
  3. In a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer. Cook without disturbing until deep golden and spotty brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, quickly flip each shrimp and continue to cook until the second sides are spotty golden brown, about 1 minute longer. (The shrimp may not be cooked through at this point.) Transfer the shrimp to the prepared sheet. Add another 1 Tbs. of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the sheet when done.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chile and scallions are softened andthe garlic is golden and smells toasted, about 1 minute. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine. Serve immediately, with the lime wedges.

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I love shrimp – the texture, the taste, and all that protein for very few calories.  This recipe is perfect for the cold of winter because it offers a warm salad.  I wasn’t sure how Rice Kernel would receive it, so I mixed in some raw romaine hearts for a familiar touch.  (I could hear him in my head asking, “a hot salad?!?!”)  His plate was served simply with some avocados, cucumbers, and a slice of baguette. 

Recipe inspiration here.


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Shrimp Diavolo

For summer’s bounty of tomatoes…. kicked up with a subtle touch of heat. 

Shrimp Diavolo


2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or 28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices)
1 large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 – 2 pounds shrimp (I used tiger) 
1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and cut a shallow “x” through the skin of the non-core end of each tomato with a sharp knife. Working in batches, gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, until the skin begins to peel away from the cuts you made. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside until they are cool enough to touch.
  2. Peel and then roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside. Pour the olive oil in a shallow, heavy saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and softened, but not browned. Add the chili flakes (start with half if you’re not sure about the heat – you can add more later) and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the tomatoes and any juices, along with a few generous pinches of salt and stir through. Stir in the onion.  Raise the heat to medium and let the tomatoes come to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, until the tomatoes have completely broken down, adding water as needed to keep the sauce from drying out. When the sauce is ready, taste for salt and add more necessary. Cover and set aside.
  4. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Season shrimp lighty with salt and pepper. Cook until shrimp just turn pink.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until still quite al dente. Reserving about half a cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta in a large colander and set it aside.
  6. Turn the heat to medium underneath the pan with the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water, using tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce. When the pasta is well-coated in the sauce and warm, add in the shrimp.  Serve hot. 

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There is comfort and decadence in this dish, in the same way lobster mac ‘n cheese offers comfort and decadence.  Being a family of rice lovers, this was bound to make an appearance on our dinner table.  Now if only I had thrown in some crispy bacon….

Basic recipe here, with leftover shrimp and lobster thrown in.

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We love the shrimp guy.  At Costco.  Yup, Costco.  The warehouse store always has amazing fresh shrimp.  This is key in our house.  We’ll eat dried chicken and beef that’s been killed twice.  But mushy shrimp?  That’s a toughie.  We were at Costco last night so tonight was going to be shrimp night.

Fast, flavorful and figure-friendly.  This dish is also versatile: serve over rice, grits, or pasta, roll up in taco form or stuff in bread as a sandwich.  It can also be served warm or at room temperature as an appetizer.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp


2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley, cilantro or scallion


  1. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve over rice, pasta or grits.

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Does Rice Kernel have a shrimp allergy or not?  That is the question.  He never did.  And then there were signs of a contact allergy around the time he was a year-and-a-half old.  And then it went away.  He eats fish and other shellfish with no problems.  Then, around Thanksgiving it seemed like something was going on again.  We refrained from shrimp for a little bit and then, spying some beautiful tiger prawns, FHE said, “We won’t know until we try again.”  Yes, we are the experimenting type.

This is a basic recipe for scampi that is more often served with pasta.  Being spud lovers, we’ve tossed it with tri-colored new potatoes and some bell peppers and onions.  A delicious mix that even Rice Kernel enjoyed.  Sans allergy.  This time.

New Potatoes with Shrimp Scampi


3/4 lb baby new potatoes
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes


  1. Rinse and scrub the potatoes well so that there any lingering dirt is removed and cut into quarters, cubes or rounds. Heat the 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes uncovered, stirring well. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Remove from heat.
  2. In the same large pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook  3-4 minutes. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

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This savory pork, shrimp, and vegetable filling is seasoned with ginger, garlic, and scallions – the most traditional filling for jiao zi.  My neighbor mentioned her family had been making these traditional dumplings with zucchini this summer.  I was skeptical at first but she was adamant they were delicious – and more nutritious.  In fact, the vegetable blends into the filling and is barely recognizable in taste or appearance.  Gound beef or lamb, both typical in northern Chinese cooking, can be substituted for the ground pork and shrimp. 

Why no pictures?  It was back-to-school night and I simply forgot….

For the filling
1 cups finely chopped napa cabbage (I used half napa and half shredded zucchini)
12 oz. ground pork
8 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted Asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
Wonton wrappers
To finish
Vegetable oil, as needed (for pan-fried dumplings)
Kosher salt, as needed (for boiled dumplings) 
1 recipe or Scallion-Soy Dipping Sauce, optional (below)

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 1 tsp. salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.  (If using zucchini, wring out the zucchini to extract most of the liquid.)

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, Shaoxing, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. of the filling onto a dough circle, fold it in half, and then if you’re going to boil the dumplings, seal it by pinching along the curved edge. If you’re planning to pan-fry the dumplings for pot stickers, make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.

To cook: either boil the dumplings…Bring a large (7- to 8-quart) pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding, quickly add the dumplings one at a time, making sure they don’t stick to each other. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the wontonsfloat and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
…or pan-fry the dumplings Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula. Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce. 
Make-Ahead Dumplings can be frozen (raw).  Do not thaw before cooking.

Ginger-Scallion Dipping Sauce

3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. hot chile oil or toasted Asian sesame oil
1 1-2 inch slice ginger, minced
1 small scallion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and then stir in the oil and scallion.

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