Food & Drink

How to get the best out of frozen shrimp

A peach slab pie, with a cinnamon and ginger imbued streusel top.
A peach slab pie, with a cinnamon and ginger imbued streusel top. NYT

Anyone who thinks they’re getting fresh shrimp at the supermarket because it’s sitting on a big bowl of ice behind glass needs to be educated.

That shrimp has been frozen; it is not fresh. We live in the Midwest, and unless you’re dining in a great seafood restaurant that promises just-caught and flown-in seafood, you can expect a lower quality of shrimp to take home.

I am semi-lazy: I buy frozen uncooked shrimp that has been peeled and deveined. Shrimp takes 5 minutes to saute with a little butter and garlic; one of the fastest dinners I can make. I wondered how to make it taste as close to fresh as possible.

One of things I have always noticed about thawed frozen shrimp is that they are like tiny sponges. Stick them in a pan and I end up with too much liquid as I’m cooking. I don’t want that.

So, I sought advice, found good tips from Allrecipes.com and had an “ah ha!” moment about cooking with this kind of shrimp:

1. Thaw them in a strainer letting the water drip through, then place them on towels to soak up any excess water.

2. Cook them on high, high heat briefly until they release more juices. Here’s how: Let them sit in the skillet without stirring for one minute, then stir quickly, then let them cook another minute. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon or remove the liquid and finish your recipe.(You can save and use the shrimp juices from the pan to add to stock or wine, if you want.)

JUST PEACHY — Cresthaven is the last of the local summer peaches and I’m told they won’t be around for long. So, here are peach recipes to put a smile on anyone’s face. And, yes, if you have to, canned or frozen fruit can be used.

Plump juicy peaches, spicy shrimp and vegetables make a colorful, refreshing salad supper. The contrast of hot and sweet flavors and soft and crunchy textures creates a mouthwatering dish that is easy to assemble and serve.

SPICY SHRIMP AND PEACH SALAD

1 ripe peach, cubed (1 cup)

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced (1 cup)

1/4 pound fresh snow peas, trimmed (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

10 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Several red leaf lettuce leaves

Cut peach in half. Remove pit and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Cut red pepper slices and snow peas into bite-size pieces, about the same size as the shrimp.

Mix mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard together in a medium-size bowl. Add the shrimp, red pepper and snow peas. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place lettuce leaves on 2 dinner plates and spoon salad on top. Sprinkle peach on top of salad.

Makes 2 servings, each with 335 calories, 11 grams fat, 266 mg cholesterol, 519 mg sodium, 20 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams sugars, 38 grams protein. Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 5 lean meat, 1/2 fat.

Linda Gassenheimer, Tribune News Service

This recipe is from Pillsbury and while you can make the slab pie with the cookie topping shown below, a recipe from Melissa Clark of the New York Times for a crumble topping is also provided and likely is better-tasting. You can substitute fresh peaches.

Peach Slab Pie

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

9 cups frozen sliced peaches, thawed and drained (from four 10-oz bags)

1/2 roll refrigerated sugar cookies*

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pie crusts from pouches. On lightly floured surface, unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other. Roll to 17-by-12-inch rectangle. Fit crust into ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan, pressing into corners. Fold extra crust even with edges of pan. Crimp edges.

2. In large bowl, mix brown sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir in peaches to coat. Spoon mixture into crust-lined pan.

3. Break cookie dough half into coarse crumbs; sprinkle evenly over filling. (Wrap and refrigerate other half of cookie dough for another use.)

4. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on rack 45 minutes. Cut and serve.

CRUMBLE TOPPING

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 sticks/6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed

Whisk together all but butter. Mix in butter with your fingertips until mixture is uniformly moist and comes together in large clumps.

Spoon filling into crust and top with crumble. Move baking sheet to the lowest rack and place pie on baking sheet. Bake as instructed above.

Contact me at sboyle@bnd.com, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne.

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