Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pep up yo' shrimp

This is my go to recipe when I want a quick meal that is intense in flavour, deliciously fragrant and simple to make. You could serve for a weeknight meal or to impress any guests.
The recipe is from a magazine I bought a few years ago called "Fast and Fresh" and I have probably made it at least 10 times. If anyone asks me for inspiration for dinner tonight, I usually describe this dish.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp
2 tsp black peppercorns (or a mixture of black, pink, green and white)
2lb shrimp, peeled with tails on or off...your choice. (the recipe calls for shell on, but that's a pain to eat and the flavour doesn't penetrate as much. I leave tails on for aesthetics as they are easily removed when eating)
2 tsp salt ,divided
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed ( I prefer crushed to finely chopped from a texture stand point and I find the chopped form is more likely to burn due to the higher heat of stir frying)
1 cup cilantro, chopped finely

Crush the peppercorns roughly.
mix shrimp in a bowl with half of the peppercorns and 1 tsp of the salt.
Heat wok or pan over high heat and add oil, garlic, and rest of peppercorns and salt and stir constantly for one minute until fragrant. The pepper will be very fragrant so be prepared!
Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until cooked through, about 3 mins depending on the size of the shrimp.
Turn off heat and add the cilantro to the shrimp in the pan and toss to combine.

Tonight I served this on top of lightly steamed green veggies (asparagus, zucchini and broccoli) that were drizzled with a tamari (or soy sauce) and toasted sesame oil drizzle. I didn't have any cilantro and the dish was still great but the cilantro really makes the flavour so much more intense and the dark green flecks definitely add to the mouthwatering rating.

I like using large shrimp for this, usually at least size 26-30, and I love black tiger shrimp. If you make extra, refrigerate the leftovers and serve in a salad for a gourmet lunch the next day.

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