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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Asian-ish Shrimp, for Lent

You may have been fortunate to have enjoyed an appetizer of grilled shrimp in an Asian (Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, etc.) restaurant at some point in your life. In discussing this with my beloved, she mentioned that, while yummy, it really isn't volumetric enough to achieve mealworthiness.

So, my mind drifting backwards to those days when I was scrupulously observing an involuntary vow of poverty, I suggested that volumetric mealworthiness could be easily achieved by serving the whole thing on a bed of Asian-ish noodles. Or, as I used to do way-back-when, whole wheat spaghetti because it was far more available and far cheaper and (to the vast majority of the Anglosphere) indistinguishable from, say, soba noodles.
So.
For dinnah, I'm making Asiatic-ish Shrimp with simply dressed fake-Asian noodles (Misura whole wheat spaghetti, which is what I happen to have on hand from a failed experiment with bigoli).

The shrimp bit:
 
2 large shallots, peeled
1 (2") chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (use the side of a spoon or fork) and grated
4 cloves garlic
¾ c soy sauce (I prefer San-J low sodium tamari, you do whatever)
½ c fresh lime juice
2 T light brown sugar (if you can score palm sugar, so much the better!)
¼ c chopped scallions
¼ c peanut oil
¼ t coarsely ground black pepper
2 lb large ("21-30") shrimp; save the shells and tails to make shrimp stock

Put the shallots, ginger, garlic, soy, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the scallions and peanut oil and blend until combined. Season with the black pepper, to taste. Place shrimp in a large zippered bag, put the marinade in, squish all the air out and zip it shut. Allow the shrimp to marinate at room temperature for half an hour or so.

Preheat your grill (a grill pan will work) to high. Remove shrimp from the bag, shake off most of the marinade and grill for 60ish seconds (until they JUST turn opaque!) per side.

The noodle bit:

(Incidentally, this can go hot or cold, your call.)

Take one pound of whole wheat or buckwheat noodles, boil in salted water (figure a small palmful per quart/liter of water).

Drain and dress with a vinaigrette made from
Kosher salt
1 c peanut (vegetable if you have peanut allergies) oil
¼ c rice wine vinegar
5 T soy sauce (see above)
3 T toasted sesame oil
1 T light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced as finely as you patience will allow
1 t grated fresh ginger
3 T sesame seeds (the white ones), toasted
½ c smooth peanut butter (go for the all natural stuff)
4 scallions (white and green parts, stopping where it looks dried or "dusty"), sliced diagonally

Add the vinaigrette in stages, because different noodles absorb vinaigrette at different rates. You want it to have a bit more dressing than you think is right, because as it cools it will absorb more. The remaining vinaigrette refrigerates nicely. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or cashews and/or snipped chives, mound shrimp atop.

There ya go.
-J.

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