Archive for the ‘Shrimp’ Category

Herself’s Shrimp and Seafood Sauce

13 March 11
A steamed tail-on shrimp.

Image via Wikipedia

This is Herself posting today. Himself was without inspiration for supper tonight – so he fixed jumbo shrimp, cooked, shelled and chilled along with my favorite rice – a mix of white, wild and red rice cooked in vegetable stock. Oh Yum! But we didn’t have any seafood sauce for the shrimp. Himself was content with lemon and butter to dip his, but I wanted that good cocktail sauce. We didn’t have any, and Himself had only told me what we were having about 15 minutes before serving – no time to go to the store. So I raided the refrigerator, in search of a “Taste.” This is what I did, and I think it turned out very well!

2-3 Tbs Hunt’s Ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice (RealLemon works)
1/2 – 3/4 tsp prepared horseradish

Mix and change amounts to your taste.



Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls) and Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Fish Sauce)

25 February 11
Chả giò

Image via Wikipedia

Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

This is one of the most magical tastes in the world. Chả giò translates as minced pork roll. What we have here a basic kitchen sink recipe. You can put in whatever you have on hand that appeals to your taste buds. This is just the basic, jazz up or down as you like. You can make ‘em strictly vegan if you like. We like protein. Well, I suppose you could use some hard tofu for protein, but it is not quite the same.

2 oz cellophane noodles OR rice vermicelli
vegetable oil (peanut works well)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (your taste rules)
4 oz shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz pork, minced OR fine chopped chicken
1 carrot, grated
3 green onions, sliced
1 oz mung bean sprouts OR 3-4 Napa cabbage leaves
2 tsp nước chấm (fish sauce)

2 Tbs Vietnamese chile sauce
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
2 tsp water, cold (optional)
~32 spring roll wrappers

Boil the cellophane noodles for about 5 minutes. You can also use rice vermicelli if you can’t find the noodles. Drain and cool a bit and then cut into 1 inch pieces. You don’t need to get fancy, just dump them out of the strainer onto your cutting board and chop them up in 1 inch strips, then cut another path of 1 inch strips at right angles. Set aside on a plate.

You should use a wok if you’ve got one, if not, a large skillet will do. Put a little oil in the wok and when it is hot add the chopped garlic. You do know how to tell if the oil is hot enough, don’t you? OK, simple: shove the end of a chopstick into the oil, vertically, to rest on the bottom of the wok. If you see bubbles coming up the oil is hot enough, if no bubbles, it is not hot yet. When the garlic aroma starts to diffuse (about 45 seconds) add in the meat. Pork is traditional, but chicken is also good. When it is just about halfway done add in the shrimp. When they are done take them out and chop fine. Add everything to the pan – meat, veggies, fish sauce, chile sauce, and noodles. If you don’t have bean sprouts you can use 3 to 4 leaves of fine shredded Napa cabbage. Cook until the veggies, particularly the carrots, are softened. Immediately transfer to a plate and let it cool down.

Wrappers: What you want is the Chinese wrappers which are wheat based and need refrigeration; they are not rice paper. Rice paper is mostly for the uncooked party rolls and can be a whole lot of fun to handle. If you have trouble getting the flap to stick down mix up the cornstarch and water so you can glue it down. Keep a damp (almost wet) towel over your skin stack as you work, otherwise they will get dry and unworkable. (You could do something radical like follow the directions on the skin package.) If you can’t find them at the local grocery try to find an Asian store. They will have them. Our local Publix does not carry them, but they do stock egg roll skins. Not quite the same, but they could be used in a pinch.

If you’ve got square skins set with a corner pointing directly at yourself. If they are round, it doesn’t matter. Put a tablespoon full of cooled filling in the skin off center near yourself. Fold the bottom up and around the filling, fold in the sides, and roll from the bottom into a tight cylinder. For Vietnamese style they should be rather long and thin. The Chinese style rolls are shorter and fatter. Brush the edge with the cornstarch water mixture if you need it to seal. Chinese skins don’t always need the extra since they are wheat based. Square skins tend to seal a little better also. If you have trouble there are beau-coup videos on the web showing how to roll them.

You can fry them up with the same wok you used earlier. You will need enough oil to float the rolls about 4 at a time. I use a deep fryer, specifically a Cool Daddy, or an electric skillet because it is much easier. Anyway, get the oil between 325°F and 350°F. Cook them between 1 minute and 5 minutes, depending on the inside goodies and your individual taste. Let them drain and cool for a little while and then serve with nước chấm (dipping sauce).

Just for info: most of the stuff is actually made in Thailand or Taiwan and is quite satisfactory. Vietnam is still not exactly a favored trading partner.

Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Dipping Sauce)

This is the basic Vietnamese fish sauce the secondhand smell of which every GI shipped to Southeast Asia in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s learned to identify. The Vietnamese would curl up and die without their fish sauce. The smell gave away many an ambush in the jungle. You can get the basic ingredients on the internet or at a local Asian grocery. If your grocery has much of an international selection you may find it there. If there is a Whole Foods near you, you probably can find much (or all) of what you need there. Good luck.

You can’t say that there is any one way to make the dipping sauce that goes so beautifully with spring rolls and egg rolls and the like. I’ll give you the basic basic, but the variations are endless and are totally up to you. And when you get it to your liking it is now the dipping sauce known as nước chấm.

The basic ingredients:

2 parts water
1 part sugar
1 part lime/lemon juice. Fresh is best, but bottled juice will work in a pinch.
1 part fish sauce (nước mắm)
Optional additions:
garlic, minced
minced Serrano peppers or
minced small chili peppers or
chili paste
rice vinegar

It best to heat the water and stir in the sugar while the water is hot, then set aside to cool. You get much better combination this way. After things cool down add the citrus juice and the fish sauce and stir together. That’s it. You now have the basic dunking sauce. However, I do not regard the garlic or the rice vinegar as optional. I think the sauce is incomplete without it. My normal would be 1/4 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar, 1/8 cup fish sauce, 1 Tbs rice vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, minced. I’m not a big fan of peppers so mostly I don’t.

Also however – big time. There is no cast in stone way to make this stuff, the proportions and ingredients vary all over the map. If you want more or less of any given ingredient – fine. If you want to add something else or subtract something – also fine. The only constant is that there is fish sauce in there somewhere. And even so there are a million and one different kinds of fish sauce. Mostly the stuff I’m used to is fermented anchovy based, but there are many other variations. Experiment. Enjoy.

Lime Shrimp

27 March 10

There are as many lime shrimp recipes as there are lime shrimp cooks. You can doll it up, spice it up, or keep it simple. It is all up to you. Here’s a pretty easy (and pretty basic) version.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/8 cup tequila
1 Tbs Triple Sec
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced onion or shallot
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lbs fresh shrimp, clean, peeled, deveined

Dump everything in a bowl or a plastic bag, shake or mix well and shove it in the refrigerator for about an hour. If you let it go too much more than that it may get cooked by the marinade and you don’t want that. By the way – any of the orange Triple Sec liquors will do, Cointreau, Triple Sec, or what have you.

Lube a good skillet with olive oil and/or butter (I like both). When it is good and hot and ready put the shrimp in and reserve the marinade. Cook the shrimp over medium high heat for 1 minute, flip it over and give the other side 1 minute, then dump in the marinade and give the shrimp about 1 more minute. Pull the shrimp out and set aside, keeping it warm. Crank up the heat so the liquid comes to a rapid boil and reduce by about half. Put the shrimp back in the pan for long enough to get warm.

Serve over a bed of white rice.

If you don’t keep bottles of cooking booze around check your local booze store. Around here they have the little old fashioned airplane sized bottle pretty cheap. Cointreau is usually the most expensive of the Triple Sec’s and Grand Marnier is about the cheapest. Your mileage may vary.

{{Herself Sez: Grand Marnier may be cheapest, but I think it tastes best! And you can forget the white rice! I really like the Texmati Royal Blend (red, white, brown and wild rice mix). Yummm! Add a little more lime and Tequila for me, but Himself prefers less lime and less Tequila.}}

Creamy Drunken Shrimp –

18 November 08

A rather nice variation for shrimp when your taste buds are bored and limp.

For 4 people, scale as necessary.

½ stick unsalted butter
1 minced shallot
thick sliced mushrooms
some broccoli florets or chopped Brussels sprouts

Melt the butter in a good iron skillet, lower the heat and sweat the shallots, mushrooms, and veggies for 4 to 5 minutes, turning and/or stirring to keep even cooking. If you don’t have shallots handy you can use an equal volume of mild onion, minced. If your broccoli or sprouts are fresh then drop them into boiling salted water for about 3 minutes before adding. If they are frozen let them thaw before adding. It may be good to add a little more butter as this cooks, just use your own judgment.

Add a cup of either champagne or some decent white wine of your choice, raise the heat and boil rapidly for about 4 minutes until the liquid is pretty well reduced.

Add in about a pound of uncooked, peeled, deveined shrimp and 2 cups of heavy cream. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring quite often for 10 minutes or until the shrimp are nicely pink and the cream good and thick.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. If you are doing this for presentation use white pepper, otherwise good freshly ground black is fine. Garnish with a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley.

Serve over whatever suits you. We rather like rice, you may like some kind of pasta. If you are not familiar with cooking rice, see the previous discussion on Japanese Rice.

This is one of those cooking methods where just about anything can be added, subtracted, or changed to suit your taste and current cupboard supplies. You could substitute scallops for the shrimp. You could chop up some chicken instead. You could use some local fish that has a fine taste and texture. You can use whatever vegetable is good to you, just make sure that it will come done about the same time as the rest of the ingredients.

Coquilles St. Jacques –

26 July 08

Is a traditional French scallop dish that comes in two basic flavors: A La Parisienne and A La Provencale. (Plain talk = city and country). I generally prefer the richer Parisiene variety over the more robust Provencale. The Provencale is heavier with garlic and herbs. I will probably write it up one of these days.

Back in the middle 1960’s there was a restaurant on Piedmont near La Vista called The King’s Table (I think) that served a pretty decent Coquille. If memory serves that was probably the first place that I ever had this particular goodie, and I have been fond of it ever since. At that time there were many good Southern restaurants in Atlanta, also barbeque and steak houses. Oriental meant sort of Chinese, forget Japanese, Thai, Indian or anything else like that. Continental and French were just beginning to appear, and The King’s Table was one of the first that had decent seafood prepared French style. I loved it. They also had European style service. Very impressive for a date. Didn’t take hippisses there – coffee houses with folkie music were good for them.

Herself Sez: It was King Arthur’s Table. And they also had the best steaks I had ever had in my life to that point. I mourned when they closed!!

The basic Parisienne is scallops only and should be served in genuine scallop shells. However, you probably can’t get the real deal without taking the first-born to the bank and hocking him. And his wife might be a bit stuffy about that, so use frozen scallops and/or shrimp. Works pretty well. If you use frozen and/or shrimp you won’t have the shells, so use gratin dishes if you have them, or a reasonable sized casserole dish.

HERSELF SEZ: Obviously Himself doesn’t do the shopping. Scallop shells (cleaned, dried, sterilized, packaged) can be had at the local fresh market for slightly less than the monthly mortgage payment!


3/4 cup dry white vermouth or white wine (use good stuff)
1/2 tsp sea salt
5 to 10 grinds pepper
1 whole bay leaf or 1/2 leaf crumbled
2 Tbs minced shallots or green onions

Simmer for about 5 minutes.


1 lb scallops and/or shrimp
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
enough water to cover

Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then remove the solids to a dish, crank up the heat and reduce the liquid (boiling heavily) to around a cup. Remove the bay leaf if you left it intact. Not necessary if you really minced it.

Sauce Parisienne:

3 Tbs butter
4 Tbs all purpose flour

Melt the butter, reduce heat, blend in the flour stirring constantly until they foam gently for about 2 minutes. Do not let it brown. Remove from heat and blend in:

The reduced cooking scallop/mushroom liquid (should be about 1 cup)
3/4 cup milk

Back to the heat and boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

In a separate bowl:

2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a separate bowl blend the egg yolks and the cream. SLOWLY add the hot sauce mix in small amounts, stirring constantly. If you go too fast and/or do not stir enough the eggs will cook solid. This is not good.

Return the sauce to the pan and boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

salt to taste – go easy
pepper to taste – go easy
lemon juice to taste – go easy

If it is too thin reduce slowly, stirring constantly. If it is too thick add a little heavy cream, stirring constantly. Yeah – there’s a whole bunch of stirring in this thing – not for the faint-hearted. Adjust seasoning to taste, but be gentle with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. You want to sneak up on the right taste, It is difficult to remove seasonings if you go too far. This is one of the places that sea salt is definitely superior. If the sauce has too many solids you may want to strain it. You want it nice and smooth.


grated cheese of choice – a nice Gruyere or Emmenthaler goes well here.

Cut up the scallops cross-grained about 1/8″ thick. If using shrimp just cut into bite-sized pieces. Mix the scallop/shrimp/mushroom stuff with 1/2 to 2/3 of the sauce. Butter the shells/gratin dishes/casserole dish(es) and spoon the stuff in. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Dot with butter and sprinkle cheese liberally. Put the dishes on a broiling pan.

You’ve done most of the hard work now. This can be refrigerated for up to a day at this point. Do the rest just before serving. (About 15 minutes).

Get the broiler hot and a rack about 8″ down. Slide them in and heat to nicely brown. Serve immediately.

This is traditionally a side dish, but we like it for a main course. With some good French bread – of course. Good stuff.

HERSELF SEZ: Well, when he sent this to me, the Ol’ Curmudgeon sed, “This is about important stuff – y’know – food. Like I said, as I get older my brain moves from my crotch to my belly. Howsomever it is also true that I have always enjoyed good food.”

That is a dangerous statement. Always subject to dispute – from both of us! {snarky grin}

About this recipe, I told him next time to cut back a little on the mushrooms and add more of the “good stuff” (the shrimp and scallops). He SNEERED at me!! I like mushrooms, I love mushrooms, I just don’t like them overwhelming the scallops and shrimpies in my Coquilles St. Jacques! The last time we had it, the mushrooms ever-so-slightly-overwhelmed the scallops and shrimpies to my taste. Of course, my taste is not his taste, nor yours, so vary the proportions of the ingredients as you desire – a little more of one, a little less of the other TO YOUR TASTE!

Shrimp Casserole Sort of Scampi –

5 July 08

This is a rather easy and pretty good meal when you don’t have a whole lot of time and/or energy. It is kinda-sorta scampi-like. Most any of the ingredients can be substituted or swapped around to suit your own taste buds (or what you have on hand).

Olive oil
Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

You will need somewhere around 6 to 12 shrimp per person depending on the size of the shrimp and the appetites involved. Rough chop some onions about equal to the volume of shrimp. Put some olive oil and butter in a good skillet and slow sweat the onions on very low heat while you do the next stuff. Peel and devein the shrimp and set them aside for the moment. Rough chop some tomatoes, somewhere between equal volume and twice volume of the onions. Toss them into the pan and raise the heat up a little bit. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Toss in about 1 clove garlic per person, rough chopped, and stir it in. Let it mellow for about 2 minutes. Toss in the shrimp and around a quarter cup of parsley per person and mix it up. After about 1-1/2 minutes turn everything over and give it about another minute.

Put into a lubed casserole dish and cover with grated or crumbled cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Romano go well together. Feta gives it a nice Greek accent. Gruyere is also very nice. A mix that we like is sharp white cheddar – the Cabot Seriously Sharp Vermont is good – Parmigiano-Reggiano and Romano. Bake for around 10 minutes. What you want is the shrimp cooked and the cheese melted. Don’t overcook it. The cheese will not be browned, but that’s just fine.

As soon as it comes out of the oven spritz on a little lemon juice and add a few grinds of pepper. You can use white pepper if you are going to serve it to company. Black works beautifully if you don’t mind the pepper showing up over the cheese. Taste and see if it needs any salt. Ours usually doesn’t.

Now, using the same technique, you can substitute just about any of the ingredients around, or add more of whatever you have. Just adjust the cooking time up or down so that between the skillet and the casserole everything comes done at the same time. This works as a main dish with sides or as a single taste meal when you are too tired to fiddle with cooking several different things.

Greek Night: Manitaria and Garides Tourkolimano –

20 June 08

I have eaten a lot of Greek food over the years. I like it. The second time I was in college the major was Greek, so that I could read the Greek plays and the Bible in the original. Also, being Russian Orthodox, I am completely at home with the Greek Orthodox. Same beliefs and services – different language and Saints calendar.

These two dishes are quintessentially Greek and also very easy to prepare.

Manitaria – Greek Mushrooms

2/3 cup olive oil – Greek or Cretan preferred
½ cup dry white wine – Greek preferred, but any decent wine will do
1 tsp dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh chopped
3 good sized cloves garlic chopped fine
4 Tbs chopped parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1-12 oz. pack Whole mushrooms – button preferred
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the mushrooms and half of the lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the mushroom and stir to coat. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Set aside in a non-reactive bowl and let cool to room temperature. Just before serving sprinkle the other half of the lemon juice and some fresh chopped parsley over it. We like it with Tzaziki sauce.

Tzaziki Sauce – Greek flavored yoghurt

16 oz. Plain yoghurt

Herself Sez: Plain Cabot’s Greek-Style Yogurt is an excellent choice!

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped fine
kosher salt to taste
4 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 Tbs olive oil – Greek is preferred
2 Tbs red wine, Greek Retsina preferred

Put the yoghurt into a tea towel in a strainer and set over a pot for 2 to 3 hours to drain. Scrape the yoghurt into a mixing bowl. Put the cucumber into another tea towel and wring all possible water out. Mix everything together and let it rest for an hour or so to meld the flavors.

Variations have mint, oregano, or whatever else you like added to them. (The mint is particularly nice).

Garides Tourkolimano – Greek Shrimp

3 lb. Raw shrimp
1 lb. Feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp Oregano
3 tomatoes cut into wedges
1 cup chopped green onion tops
½ cup lemon juice
¾ cup cream sherry or Retsina, depending on your taste buds
Olive oil

Clean, peel, devein shrimp, set aside with a bit of the lemon juice drizzled over them. Coat a good skillet with olive oil and sauté the tomatoes, garlic, and green onion tops. When the tomatoes are soft, add the shrimp and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the shrimp until nicely pink, turning frequently. Add the feta and wine and boil for 3 minutes or until the feta melts a bit.

Serve with a nice Greek salad and you have a good meal. Greek salad? Easy, just combine any salad greens and veggies that you like, sprinkle it with some crumbled Feta cheese. Oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper for a dressing.

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