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Archive for the ‘Shrimp’ Category

Photo by David Bishop

http://dbishop.net/

The first time I had a really great paella was in Majorca Spain, where every kind of seafood available could be obtained freshly caught, having never been frozen. The flavor and texture is incomparable to our once frozen varieties. The shrimp and baby squid quite literally melted in my mouth. My Uncle Nick had an apartment there in town over looking the marina. Two friends of mine and I were visiting with him for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. He prepared for us an incredible paella, taking no short cuts, making his stock from scratch.

In my version, seen above, I did my best to recreate the flavors and textures I remembered from Spain. I did take a tiny short cut in buying organic free range chicken stock and clam juice, which I enhanced by boiling it down with chicken wings, a lobster head, shrimp shells, a whole carrot, onion and celery stalk, a couple of bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, and a pinch of saffron.

Photo by David Bishop

My photographer friend, David, and I went to a Spanish Restaurant in NYC, El Charro Español, which specializes in paella while we were researching to write and shoot this post, and help me come up with my recipe. I ordered the seafood paella and he ordered the Paella Valenciana, which also included seafood and featured chicken and chorizo, a smoky, spicy sausage. I usually don’t eat pork products due to the high Triglyceride levels, but when I tasted what a difference it made in the flavor of David’s rice compared to mine, I was sold on chorizo in paella as a must. We borrowed a paella pan with the generosity of Luis, the owner of the restaurant. I am told that the pan can make all the difference, but that the most important thing is the proportion of the broth to the rice, and of course the flavor of the broth.

Pre-heat the oven to 450’F and place a shelf close to the bottom of the oven

Meat and Seafood Ingredients:

  • 1 small live lobster-remove the head and small legs for the stock. Cut the tail into 1 inch pieces, leaving the shell on.
  • 4 chicken wings, browned on both sides in plenty of canola oil in a skillet-use 2 for the stock.
  • 12 tiny clams, scrubbed and sorted to ensure that they are alive (I prefer Cockles. They are ridged and have a green tint).
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp- use the shells for the stock (and heads if you can get them that way).
  • 1/4 lb. small mussels, scrubbed and sorted.
  • 1/4 lb. sea scallops-cut into quarters
  • 1 eight inch chorizo sausage-sauteed in the same pan with the chicken, then cut into 3/4″ inch thick rounds.

Prepare the seafood and refrigerate until you are ready to put them into the paella pan. Set aside the cooked chicken and chorizo.

Broth:

  • 1 quart of organic free range chicken stock
  • 1 pint of clam juice
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1   8 oz. can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2  chicken wings, browned on both sides as said above
  • 1 lobster head
  • shrimp shells
  • 1 large onion, washed and quartered
  • 1 whole carrot, scrubbed
  • 1 celery stalk, scrubbed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed saffron fibers

Boil the broth ingredients until it reduces to about half of the volume, or until you need to use it. Strain out the bits and discard them.

Vegetable & Rice ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted Piquillo peppers or Italian roasted red peppers
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 tsp hot, smoked Hungarian Paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed Saffron threads
  • 1 tsp sea salt

In a paella pan, saute the above ingredients in olive oil over medium heat until the onions and shallots are soft and translucent. Then add in:

  • 1 cup short grain rice such as Arborio or Bomba
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 1/2 cup of canned butter beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup blanched haricot vert, cut into one inch lengths

Stir together thoroughy, then add in:

  • 2- 2 1/2 cups of hot broth

Continue cooking the rice blend for about 5 minutes, stirring all the while. As the rice gets a bit thicker, start adding in the proteins from the largest to the smallest, nestling them into the rice mixture. Place the paella pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until most of the broth is absorbed, and the rice is just bit al dente. Cover and let rest for about 10- 30 minutes before serving. Having a crusty bottom is considered a good thing. It adds flavor and depth to the dish. Serve with lemon wedges and white or red sangria.

Also visit my Food News column The Huffington Post and my professional website at marilinda.com.

Thanks,

Marilinda

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Pan Grilled Shrimp with Lime Zest

Photo by David Bishop

http://dbishop.net/

Shellfish, shrimp being one of my favorites, is a spectacular gift of the sea and treasure of the planet. It is one of the lowest calorie animal proteins, 30 calories per ounce, is low in fat, has no saturated fat and offers beneficial cholesterol.  http://www.foodmarketexchange.com/datacenter/industry/article/idf_shrimp_drains.htm

As most world ethnic cuisines tell us, cooking proteins with the bones and shells still attached imparts flavor. Flavor, the all important factor in appetite satiation, drives our sense of abundance and satisfaction with our intake of nutrients and pleasure. Slicing the shrimp in half length wise with the shells still on allows you to clean the vein from the shrimp and season the cut side of the meat. Grilling them shell side down promotes maximum flavor. The grilling shell flavors the flesh with its sweet and musky piquant fragrance.

In pondering how to apply a fine lime zest evenly to the raw shrimp without waste, I realized that drying it would allow ease of sprinkling. To do this I mixed it with fine sea salt and finely ground white pepper. The resulting spice seasoning adds the right balance of brightness, tang and zing needed to make this a thoroughly scrumptious entree or appetizer.

I love cooking with coconut oil. It has such a rich fragrance and flavor, a medium smoke point and zero cholesterol. Yes, the much maligned saturated fat in coconut is indeed now understood to be one of the healthiest oils on the planet. It is said to cure a multitude of human bodily ills and used sparingly won’t add many calories to your food. If you are on a strict no fat diet you can grill the shrimp in a non stick pan without any oil.  http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/ http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html

The secret to easily cutting the shrimp in half lengthwise with a neat and clean look, is using a pair of scissors to cut down the back center line of the shell and the tail. Then, laying the shrimp down on its side, use a very sharp knife to cut the flesh into halves. You’ll get the hang of it with one or two tries.

Lime Zest Seasoning

  • 1 lime, finely zested (Save the juice for your water glasses or beverage of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

Preparing and Cooking the Shrimp

A half pound of shrimp will feed two people, 120 calories per person without the oil. Coconut oil adds 120 calories per tablespoon to the total pan, much of which gets left in the pan.

  1. Wash and dry the shrimp
  2. Cut the shrimp in half laterally as described above
  3. Pull out the veins if you wish to. I find that sometimes they are less apparent than others.
  4. Sprinkle or spoon and smear the shrimp, cut side up, evenly with the Lime Zest Seasoning
  5. Coat the pan evenly, using a pastry brush, with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  6. On medium heat, let the skillet heat up until it sizzles a drop of water
  7. Add the shrimp halves to the pan shell side down, keeping track of the order in which you place them down. I have found that usually by the time I have put the last one into the pan it is time to turn the first one.
  8. Turn the shrimp when you see that the shell has turned pink everywhere
  9. Cook the shrimp until they just lose their translucency and remove immediately to a plate. It will only be about a minute. Do Not Over Cook or they will become dry and tough.

It is easy to remove the shell while eating them with a knife and fork, but feel free to eat them with your hands.

Also see my Food News column in The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marilinda-hodgdon/  and my professional site at www.marilinda.com


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