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Microwave . . .

Versatile Shrimp for a Good Start

April 23, 1987|DIANA WILLIAMS HANSEN | Hansen is a Louisville-based cooking consultant specializing in microwaving

Shrimp is unique among seafoods because it appeals to the fish lover and the non-fish lover alike.

Like chicken, shrimp is versatile. Since it is mild in flavor, it harmonizes with many types of cuisines and seasonings. It is the star of gumbos and other seafood stews. And it stands alone when you want a simple, low-calorie, high-protein entree.

Shrimp is not high in cholesterol, as it once was thought to be. A three-ounce serving contains 77 milligrams of cholesterol, as compared with 72 milligrams in skinless roast chicken. It is comparable in iron with roast chicken and comparable in Vitamin B-12 with lean roast beef. Yet it is lower in calories than either.

Shrimp is a good choice for the microwave oven. Steam peeled raw shrimp in its own juices simply by arranging it in a circle around the edge of a round microwave dish. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave at HIGH about five minutes per pound. Flavor with garlic butter or go easy on the calories by sprinkling with a Mexican salsa before microwaving. Steamed, flavored shrimp makes a wonderful last-minute appetizer from the microwave.

For Pineapple Sweet and Sour Shrimp, you can use either fresh or canned pineapple. My local supermarket has a machine that removes the outer peel and core of fresh pineapple. This makes it easier than ever to enjoy fresh pineapple, even though some of the fruit is lost to the peeling machine.

Raw shrimp can be microwaved in the shell in a casserole with a little water, if desired. The cold Shrimp in Mustard Marinade recipe that follows provides the necessary technique. Serve it cold with wood picks or cocktail forks or serve it as a shrimp salad in lettuce cups, with cold cooked beans, cauliflower florets and carrot curls on the side.

This recipe uses a whole pineapple. Some of it is chopped for the sauce and the rest is cut in chunks to add texture to the finished dish. Fresh pineapples vary in sweetness. Because of the predominance of pineapple in this dish, its sweetness is important. You may need to adjust the sugar accordingly.

PINEAPPLE SWEET AND SOUR SHRIMP

1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored (about 1 3/4 pounds after peeling)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup vinegar

1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled, cooked and deveined

1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimientos, undrained

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

10 drops hot red pepper sauce

1 cup diced green peppers

3 slices bacon, microwaved crisp and crumbled

3 to 4 green onions, sliced

Hot cooked rice

Cut peeled pineapple in half. In food processor, chop half of pineapple medium fine to measure 1 cup. With sharp knife, cut remaining half into bite-size chunks to measure about 1 1/2 cups.

Place onion in 1 1/2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave at HIGH (100% power) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, just until hot. Add sugar, cornstarch, cold water and vinegar. Microwave at HIGH 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or until mixture is smooth, clear and very thick.

Add shrimp and stir well to distribute and to warm shrimp. Add 1 cup chopped pineapple, pimientos, garlic, soy sauce and hot red pepper sauce. Microwave at HIGH 5 to 7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until all ingredients are hot.

Stir in green peppers and pineapple chunks and let mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and green onions. Serve over hot cooked rice, with chopsticks, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Canned pineapple can be substituted for fresh. Use 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple for sauce and 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained, in place of fresh chunks. Add up to 1/3 cup more sugar if very sweet taste is desired.

COLD SHRIMP IN MUSTARD MARINADE

2 pounds raw shrimp in shells

2 1/2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

1/3 cup prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

In 2-quart microwave-safe casserole, combine shrimp, water, bay leaf and vinegar. Microwave at HIGH (100% power) 6 to 10 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes, or just until shrimp have turned opaque. Cool shrimp in cooking water, then peel and devein.

In large bowl, combine garlic, celery, chives, oil, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, horseradish, mustard, paprika, salt and white pepper. Add drained shrimp and stir to mix well. Chill several hours or overnight. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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