Wheatless Wednesday – Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Garlic and Chile

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp are finger licking good!  I’ll bet you can’t eat just one… I’m not even a shrimp fanatic and I loved these spicy, slightly crispy, garlicky shrimp.   They are perfect on their own as an appetizer. I guarantee they will get gobbled up and they don’t even need a dipping sauce, just lots of napkins.   Or pair them with rice and veggies for a complete meal.  Turn a simple buttered pasta into a delicacy by topping it with several beautiful and tasty shrimp.  Better yet, how about warm spicy shrimp over lightly dressed mixed baby greens, yum!

Did you know that shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S.? They are also a good choice from a nutritional standpoint.  They are low in fat and calories and zero carbohydrates but high in protein and heart healthy omega-3 fats.  Shrimp are a great choice when you are pressed for time since they cook in just a few minutes.  If you buy easy-peel or pre-shelled shrimp, the prep work is mostly done for you but the shelling and deveining process is not that difficult, it doesn’t even take that long.   Click HERE  for a handy video on shelling shrimp with just one cut.

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NOTES ON SHRIMP:  When buying shrimp, look for wild vs farmed shrimp, if possible, and pay attention to where they are from.  According to Seafood Watch, wild-caught shrimp is generally a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” with the exception of shrimp fisheries in Mexico and Louisiana, which are on the “Avoid” list for poor management. Farmed shrimp from the U.S. is also a good option.  However, 90% of our shrimp is imported farmed shrimp, mostly from Asia, and is generally on the “Avoid” list due to questionable practices including overcrowding, chemicals, poor quality of food and even abusive labor conditions. So even though they are likely to be more expensive than farmed, wild-caught shrimp are also better for you. The Huffington Post also reported that wild-caught shrimp are better for the environment, our health and our taste buds. Choosing to eat wild shrimp also helps sustain American jobs and fishing communities.

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Photo Credit – http://www.tasteofthai

If you don’t have Chinese Five Spice powder, which I didn’t, you can substitute with what you have in your pantry.  It is typically composed of star anise, cloves, fennel seed, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns, so if you have any of those ingredients, start there.  I used bit of clove, cinnamon and crushed fennel seeds and added some Creole Seasoning which has black and red pepper and chili powder.  The cloves really combined nicely with the garlic and chiles, so I will definitely be using it more in cooking.  I suppose I will be looking for Chinese Five Spice next time I’m at the market. Who knew?

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SALT AND PEPPER SHRIMP WITH GARLIC AND CHILE

2 Tbsn cornstarch
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder or Creole Seasoning + pinch of clove and cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp 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.)
3-1/2 Tbs. peanut or avocado oil
1 small lime, cut into 4 wedges (optional)

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  • Peel and devein the shrimp if necessary. Using a sharp knife, slice through the underside of the shell and remove the legs, the vein and shell, leaving the tail on.  Then make a slice along the back and remove the second vein.  Click HERE  for a handy video on shelling shrimp with just one cut.

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  • Rinse and dry the shrimp dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five-spice powder, salt and pepper.

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  • Prepare the garlic, chile, and scallions; set aside.

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  • Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and toss until evenly coated.

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  • 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.

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  • 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 a platter or plate. Add another 1 Tbs. of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the plate when done.

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  • 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 and the garlic is golden and aromatic, about 1 minute.

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  • Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine. Serve immediately, with the lime wedges.

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Garlic and Chile

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 Tbsn cornstarch
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder or Creole Seasoning + pinch of clove powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp 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 avocado oil
1 small lime, cut into 4 wedges (optional)

  • Peel and devein the shrimp if necessary. Using a sharp knife, slice through the underside of the shell and remove the legs, the vein and shell, leaving the tail on.  Then make a slice along the back and remove the second vein.  Click HERE  for a handy video on shelling shrimp with just one cut.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five-spice powder, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chile, and scallions; set aside.
  • Rinse and dry the shrimp dry with paper towels.
  • Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  • 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 a platter or plate. Add another 1 Tbs. of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the plate when done.
  • 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.

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Scallop Ceviche with Avocado and Tomatillo

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Summer officially begins on Saturday and you know what that means- long lazy days spent at the lake, cool, refreshing drinks by the pool and the return of brilliant pink and red sunsets!  It also means salads or cool foods that don’t heat up your body or your kitchen.  Ceviche is popular in South and Central America where temperatures are warm most of the year.  For the uninitiated, Ceviche is a delicious taste sensation.  Various fish or shellfish is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, usually lemons and limes. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which is what makes it firm and gives it the taste and feel of being cooked.  Recipes for ceviche vary among countries but adding onions and chili peppers or other herbs and vegetables is fairly common.

My ceviche was inspired by the ingredients I had on hand (tomatillo, serrano peppers, red onion, cilantro and the first tomatoes from my garden), which give it a more Mexican flavor.  I had never used tomatillos before and bought them on a whim the other day. Tomatillo, (in Spanish “green or little tomato”) is not really a tomato but a part of the nightshade family.   If you don’t have access to tomatillos, then you can omit them from the recipe or put some of those ‘not quite ripe tomatoes’ to work for you for a similar flavor.

The ceviche needs at least 3 hours or over night to “cook” but can be assembled in less than 10 minutes.  The flavors combine for a tasty, slightly spicy and refreshing dish that is loaded with vitamins and minerals plus healthy fats.  This is perfect for when you don’t want to turn on your oven.  It makes a great appetizer served in small glasses with chips or crackers or as a main or side dish.

 

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Scallop Ceviche with Avocado and Tomatilla

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 lbs bay scallops
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
2-3 Serrano peppers(or other hot pepper), seeded and diced
6 limes, 2 lemons freshly squeezed (should be enough to cover scallops)
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3-4 tomatillas
2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced

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  • Rinse scallops and pat dry.  Place them in a ziplock bag or container with a lid.
  • Add garlic, lime and salt.
  • Dice peppers, onion and cilantro and add to scallops.
  • Remove papery skin from tomatillas and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Dice and add to the scallop mixture.
  • Gently comgine.  The scallops should be covered by lime juice.  Add a bit more if necessary.  Refrigerate at least 2 or 3 hours or overnight while the scallops “cook”.
  • Before serving pour off excess liquid, leaving a bit to keep it moist.  Add tomatoes and avocados and gently combine.

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  • Serve with crackers or tortilla chips (my fave)..

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