Does having ancestors from a Mediterranean country destine me for a life of obsession with oceanic life? I'd like to think so. When I was younger I was completely in love with dolphins and orcas. Now that I live nowhere near a great body of water I have moved on to smaller types of ocean life, preferably ones I can eat. Nori (Japanese seaweed used in sushi) is one. Shrimp is another.
When cooking with seafood, I like to stick to simple flavors that will highlight the flavor of the fish. That's why this recipe on Worth the Whisk caught my eye. She intended her chili lime shrimp recipe as an appetizer, but I altered its contents for a couple reasons: it sounded really good as a meal(!), and where I live, I don't have access to a lot of exotic peppers.
A note about buying shrimp: the number matters more than the size description. My recipe below suggests a pound of 16-20 count shrimp. The measuring system means in that one pound, there will be between 16-20 shrimp. A 51-60 count shrimp means you get more shrimp in a pound, but they will be much smaller. If you are looking for what some would describe as "colossal" shrimp, you would want a number like U12 or U10 (meaning fewer than 10 shrimp per pound). There is a great article about purchasing and cooking shrimp here. This article suggests that one pound of raw shrimp still in its shells (which is what my recipe used) is equivalent to about a half pound of shrimp once is has been shelled and cooked.
Also, something I didn't realize for a long time: unlike most meats, raw shrimp starts out grey and becomes pink when cooked. This fact can make an important difference in your cooking time!
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb 16-20 ct. shrimp, shelled but tails left intact (purchased raw, with shells on)
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- half a jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and pepper minced
- juice of one lime
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, but recommended)
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Cook for one minute.
- Add shrimp and cook for two to three minutes.
- When shrimp is pink on one side, stir/flip shrimp. Add ginger and jalapeno.
- When shrimp is fully cooked, turn off heat. Add lime juice.
- Plate immediately and serve with cilantro on side.
Dan and I had this dish with a side of rice. It was the perfect amount for two dinners. Just as importantly, it was a very easy and very enjoyable meal!
We forgot the cilantro until halfway through our meal. It made a big difference in the flavors of the meal. Since the ginger and jalapeno can be strong flavors, the cilantro was nice to cool the mouth a little. It certainly wasn't unbearable without the cilantro though.