Monday, October 1, 2012

Shrimp 2 Ways

As the old saying goes...double the shrimp, double the fun!

While that may not be the saying, it's definitely true in my case. I love shrimp. I could seriously be a pescatarian and give up meat if I could have seafood every single day. And that's saying a lot, because I love meat. Maybe it's the Caribbean in me, but seafood just does something special for me.

To keep my diet varied while living on my own in the real world, I like to get frozen, pre-shelled shrimp from Trader Joe's that I can just cook up in a jiffy whenever I want. It doesn't really matter if they are pre-cooked or not since shrimp take so little time to cook.

Now, some people may be sticklers for shrimp with the shells on, and I do understand that. I even made my own shrimp stock at the beginning of the summer under the influence of Chef John Besh's cookbook My New Orleans, which is truly impressive and convinces you that the only way to cook is to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove and make everything from scratch. Oh, and raise a farm in your backyard. Suffice it to say, I never used that stock after I made it and it sat in my freezer for a month. So the net of that experience is that I now simply buy pre-shelled shrimp!

So, on to what I made:

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine...found it on Pinterest!

Celery Shrimp Sauté with Guacamole Toast

So, how to make it? Here we go:

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguini
Original recipe found here

1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces uncooked linguine (I just substituted pasta)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms*
1 large red bell pepper, cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt free Cajun seasoning (I found mine in the bulk spices at my local supermarket)**
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fat free half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan cheese (my addition)

*Didn't have any mushrooms
**The Cajun spices here must be different, because this came out kind of sweet. I compensated by adding Adobo...awww yeah. 

So from that point on I basically followed the steps of the recipe, which are below:

Combine 1 cup water and broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Break pasta in half; add to pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes. Add shrimp to pasta. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until shrimp are done; drain and set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and red pepper to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Add flour, Cajun seasoning, and salt to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in half-and-half; cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add pasta mixture and parsley to pan; toss together with tongs. Add Parmesan cheese!
My main piece of advice for this is to prep (wash, cut, etc.) all the ingredients beforehand because this recipe moves along at a quick clip! Also, as the original recipe notes, the pasta is much better cooked in broth because it absorbs that flavor. I wasn't able to do it because I had leftover plain spaghetti, but I want to try it again. On to recipe number two!
This recipe is something I threw together off-the-cuff, but more or less this is what went down:
Celery Shrimp Sauté with Guacamole Toast
Shrimp, as much as you think you'll eat
1 tbsp. olive oil
Celery, 1 stalk per serving
1/2 a yellow onion
Red pepper flakes
Whole wheat baguette slice, halved
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash the celery, then halve it lengthwise and chop it; dice up the onion and set aside. Slice the bread in half, toast it, and set it aside. (You can always warm it up later and there's nothing worse than waiting for your bread to toast as your hot food gets cool.) Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat and put the celery and onions in at the same time. Normally I wouldn't advocate that for veggies, but celery is high in fiber and takes a while to cook through, so it's okay to put it in with onions. Be sure to stir periodically to make sure the onions don't burn. At this point, add in red pepper flakes so that they have started releasing their heat before you add the shrimp. Next step is--you guessed it--add the shrimp! Cook for 3-5 minutes, until pink and no longer grey. Add the salt and pepper before you finish the shrimp. Finally, reheat the bread if necessary, slap some guac on there, and eat! Eat, eat, eat!
See, double the shrimp equals double the fun! And definitely double the noms!
Happy eating!

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