As often happens, the best laid
dinner plans of mice and cooks can often result in completely different but equally satisfying meals. Having fantasized of making green curry mussels for dinner, coming home from the fishmonger with wild-caught jumbo shrimp was a bit unexpected. Good thing there was Plan B. [cue dramatic tympanic crescendo.] We, the-hubby-and-I-not-the-schizophrenic-we my precioussss, recently discussed how our environmental philosophy has been impacting our lifestyle and eating habits. While we both like shrimp, we don’t eat it that often, probably only a few times a year. Why? These succulent little shellfish are considered “pink gold” around the world and while that can be great from a business standpoint, the desire and competition to provide mass quantities as efficiently as possible to get into the market can often result in collateral damage like trawling (dragging a net through the sea and killing catching endangered sea turtles and other sea life along the way) as well as shrimp farming where mangrove trees are ripped out causing erosion while shrimp aquaculture byproducts flood the surrounding ecosystem and kill fish and wildlife. US shrimping companies are required to have bycatch reduction devices to reduce the amount of fish and sea life inadvertently caught as well as turtle excluder devices so they can be safely released. So we support our beliefs by voting with our wallets or abstaining if our wallets are too skinny. I don’t want to deprive anyone of a living but I also want to have a place to live a few millenia from now too 🙂 The Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch list is a good resource if you’re interested in sustainable seafood practices. I apologize if I sound preachy cuz that’s not my intention. I just want to explain why we do the at times indecipherable things we do 🙂
So, is juicy, toothy, garlicky shrimp, tangy lime, and carby saffron-tomato rice a match made in nirvana? Quite possibly. I find the lime and slightly astringent fresh parsley really help to balance out the richness of the shrimp, olive oil and butter. And unless you’re allergic to sunlight and wooden stakes, garlic is the Miss Congeniality of the savory world with a little help from her friend Shallot (Hehe, I can’t help it, I’m easily amused). Actually, in all seriousness, adding the minced shallot gives you a lot of flavor without overwhelming the natural sweetness of the succulent shrimp allowing you to get by with less than half the amount of fat normally found in this dish to get the same decadent feel to which my arteries and waistline say, “w00t!”
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tsp (2 cloves) crushed garlic
1 1/2 c long grain rice (I used jasmine)
1 1/2 c low-salt chicken or vegetable stock
1 c cherry tomatoes or 2 ripe large diced tomatoes
1 pinch saffron, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bay leaf
In a small ~2 quart pot heat olive oil over medium heat till aromatic but not smoking. Sauté shallot and garlic till golden 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Stir in stock, tomatoes, saffron, oregano, salt, and bay leaf. Cover and cook till rice is tender and liquid is absorbed ~20 minutes.
Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)
1 lb jumbo (16-25 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
3 tsp (3 cloves) crushed garlic
2 tbsp lime juice (~1 small lime)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
In the last 10 minutes while the rice is finishing up start cooking the shrimp.
Season shrimp with crushed red pepper and sea salt.
In a large ~9-inch skillet melt butter and olive oil over med-hi till foam subsides but does not brown ~1 minute. Sauté shallot and garlic till garlic is golden and shallot is soft and translucent ~2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook till the bottom half touching the skillet is opaque ~1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside. Add lime juice and parsley and reduce liquid by 1/2 and remove from heat. Return shrimp to skillet. Serve shrimp over rice and drizzle with garlic sauce. I like to use ~1-2 tbsp sauce per bowl.
**Based on my estimations, 1 serving (about 5 shrimp per 1 cup steamed rice) has about 506 calories, 62 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 1.6 g fiber, and 29 g protein. In case you’re wondering, the infographic recipe website I sometimes use doesn’t do well with exotic (read: mainly Asian) ingredients, not even rice, so I have to do my own estimations based on USDA nutrition info. Sea turtle free 😉