Archives for category: Shrimp

When it comes to fast and easy appetizers, shrimp cocktail is a surefire crowd pleaser (unless you’re feeding vegetarians). And when it comes to summer, simple is the name of the game.

I love shrimp cocktail in the hotter months – served chilled with a biting cocktail sauce, it can be light and crisp, like the seafood equivalent of a crunchy salad.

In honor of the first day of summer, thought I would share this easy-peasy recipe for shrimp cocktail that’s made by roasting the shrimp for a mere 8 minutes. This being summer though, you may not want to turn your oven on at all, which would be understandable. In which case you can grill these crustaceans on an open flame. I just love that you don’t boil the shrimp here, which leaves them, well, kind of tasteless.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

For the shrimp:
2 pounds cleaned, deveined shrimp, tail on (about 12-15 critters)
1-2 tbsp good olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I like flaky Maldon salt)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 c chili sauce
1/2 c ketchup
3 tbsp horseradish
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the olive oil on a baking sheet then add the salt and black pepper. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet, coating both sides with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until just pink and firm. Set aside to cool.

For the cocktail sauce, combine all the ingredients and serve as a dip for the shrimp.

Another summery way to serve the roast shrimp would be to forego the cocktail sauce, chop the roasted shrimp into small pieces and add to summer rolls or lettuce wraps with avocado, cilantro or mint, julienned carrots, Vietnamese cellophane noodles, and Sriracha.

Our friends Chie and Dean invited us to have lunch today at their place on 83rd and 1st. Should you have the good fortune to know them and ever be invited over, say yes.

Chie is one of these accomplished, self-taught home cooks that can dazzle and impress and make it all look effortless. I like to think I can impress on occasion, but make it look effortless? Not so much. Chie is an architect that moved to New York from Japan about six years ago. We met in the bathroom of the office building our companies shared. True story.

Her meals are more like feasts really, multi-course spreads that unfold from Japanese appetizers to clever interpretations of American classics. I didn’t know what to expect this afternoon but knew enough to come hungry.

Our co-companions lucky enough to share in the fun were Manuel, Satomi, and Dean’s cousin Leah. (Leah – I’m going to email you for that quinoa recipe; Manuel and Satomi: where is that chicken recipe?) At Chie’s, you dine around the living room table, on the floor, kneeling on pillows, in the Japanese style. The table clutters quickly with a cheese board, drink glasses, salad bowls, plates. It’s homey and festive and not fussy, which I love.

For our first course, we were served a beautiful salad of greens, cherry tomatoes, orange segments and shrimp. Before I could sop up the dressing at the bottom of the bowl, Dean swept in with bowls of steaming tomato fish chowder. It was the perfect afternoon for such a bowl of warm comfort – a gray, chilly spring day in Manhattan that called for something savory and nourishing. Garlicky, salty, packed with vegetables, this fish soup had flecks of creamy cod strewn throughout. I stopped listening to the conversation completely and focused on figuring out what all the ingredients were.

But before I could, Chie was making room on the table. I love this part. It means lunch isn’t over and there’s more deliciousness to come. Just when you think, OK, maybe Chie went easy on us this time, maybe we’re actually going to have a light lunch, or dinner. Then you realize you just finished your appetizers. Cue: stomach growl.

Out came a platter of mini beef burgers and fried cod burgers with pesto, served with a side of caramelized onions, on tiny brioche buns. The cod burger, which I had, was lightly battered with panko and pesto then fried in about 1/2 inch of oil. As I was licking my fingers, feeling satiated and starting to wind down the meal, more table clearing. I should’ve known. We’re being fed by Chie. Out comes Japanese pumpkin quarters with sweet potato piped on top. We made room on the table, I made room in my belly, and dug in. For dessert: classic Marino’s Italian ices from the corner deli. Phew – ice was about all I had room for.

Chie’s Fish Chowder

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, then add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped celery rib, 1 chopped fennel bulb, and 5 cloves minced garlic. Add 1 cup white wine, put the lid on, and let that steam for about 10 minutes.

When the vegetables soften, add either 4 c diced fresh tomatoes, or if no good fresh tomatoes around, 1 32-oz. can diced San Marzano tomatoes. Add fish stock (or chicken/veg. stock), about 2 c, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down and let simmer for about a half hour. Shortly before serving add any type of white fish (cod works well) and once it starts cooking break it up with your spoon or a fork so it falls apart into the soup.

Once the fish is cooked, remove from heat and serve. Could also add fresh herbs if you have on hand. Basil would be good, chervil, tarragon, or chives. Serve with sliced crusty bread.

I love, love, love weekends in Vermont. I lived here as a small child then again as a teenager and the sight of these mountains can still break my heart. I came up to visit my friend Arianna who had a baby, Rafael, two weeks ago. And no weekend in the Green Mountains is without culinary exploration.

My dad picked me up from the airport in Burlington Friday evening and told me we’d be having dinner at home with Bonnie, my step-mom. Bonnie is an excellent cook; a quick call to her en route from the airport revealed she was at City Market picking up fiddleheads and we were told to take a pound of shrimp out of the freezer when we got home. Yes ma’am!

Bonnie has a collection of Gourmet magazines from the 80s and 90s on a bookshelf in her kitchen and most meals begin with her at the table flipping through them for inspiration. This meal was no different, although by now she has this particular recipe almost committed to memory.

We were making “Christina’s Shrimp Seascapes,” sautéed shrimp with tomato, cilantro, and feta, from Gourmet’s May 1992 issue (only $2.50 back then), with chocolate ice cream on the cover. Good living. Along with this, sautéed fiddleheads and an avocado salad. Bonnie and I work well together in the kitchen, she as chef, me as sous-chef. I volunteer to chop garlic and onions, clean fiddleheads (colander or lettuce spinner in case you’re wondering), crumble feta. My dad cleans shrimp and in warmer months, mans the grill. Bonnie oversees the operation, makes any necessary sauces, tweaking recipes as she goes along, making notes in the margins.

Just as we were sitting down to eat, Arianna called unexpectedly. She was 5 minutes away in her car, Rafael in tow, and could she stop by? Could she! We got to coo over the little one, feed a hungry momma, and share this fantastic, but easy meal. Perfect start to my Vermont weekend.

Christina’s Shrimp Seascapes

(Sautéed Shrimp with Tomato, Cilantro, and Feta)

1/2 stick (1/4 c) unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

4 minced cloves garlic

4 tbsp dry white wine

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 tomatos, diced

heap of cilantro

4 oz feta, crumbled

In a large skillet heat the butter, olive oil, garlic, and wine over moderate heat until butter is melted. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, and cilantro and sauté for 3 minutes or until shrimp is just firm to touch. Turn off the heat, and add feta.

Serves 4.

Note: it’s good to have some crusty bread or even foccacia on hand to sop up the buttery tomato sauce left in the pan or on your plate.

Sautéed Fiddleheads

1 lb fiddleheads

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 olive oil or butter

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 c white wine

salt and pepper

Steam fiddleheads until just tender. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil (or butter) in a large frying pan and sauté the shallots and garlic until softened, a few minutes.

Mix together the soy sauce and wine. Add to the pan along with the steamed fiddleheads, turning to coat them. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Avocado Salad

2 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into small pieces

1/2 small red onion or whole shallot, chopped

2 minced cloves garlic

handful of cilantro

lime or lemon juice

olive oil

salt, pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, dressing with the lemon/lime juice and olive oil just before serving.

Arianna and Rafa

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