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GOOD COOKING

Make Them Peel

May 23, 1996|ABBY MANDEL

The weekend is usually the best time for entertaining, but it's also our weekly vacation. We don't really want to do a lot of work in the kitchen if we don't have to. The solution is to serve our guests fresh-tasting, distinctive, satisfying food that won't take the whole weekend to make.

This menu features spicy citrus shrimp-in-the-shell, a participation meal that's fun for your guests--and easy for you. The shrimp need to be marinated at least four hours but are quickly grilled on the barbecue or broiled. The shells help prevent overcooking and give the shrimp much better flavor.

Because guests will shell their own shrimp, you will need to provide bowls for the shells and lots of large paper napkins. Chilled beer or a dry white wine like Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc go well with these shrimp.

For dessert, the old-fashioned lemon buttermilk custard cakes with raspberry sauce and raspberries end the meal on a lively yet light note.

SPICY CITRUS SHRIMP-IN-THE-SHELL

These shrimp are delicious served hot, chilled or at room temperature. Using freshly squeezed juices makes a big difference in the tangy marinade-sauce.

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds large shrimp (about 48)

Combine orange peel, garlic, sugar, orange juice, lime juice, oil, salt and red pepper flakes in large measuring cup. Pour 3/4 cup (about half) over shrimp in large nonreactive bowl. Toss shrimp to coat with marinade and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight. Toss often to distribute marinade. Refrigerate remaining marinade separately.

Remove shrimp from marinade and arrange in single layer on baking sheet lined with heavy foil. Drizzle marinade over shrimp.

To grill, place shrimp in single layer in fish basket. Grill 1 side until scorched. Turn and grill until meat is just opaque.

To cook in oven, broil until scorched, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until meat is just opaque, about 1 minute more (shells will not scorch).

Mound, scorched side up, in large bowl. Serve hot, chilled or at room temperature. Pass reserved marinade as dipping sauce (heated if serving shrimp hot).

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

267 calories; 475 mg sodium; 184 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 0.11 gram fiber.

OLD-FASHIONED BUTTERMILK CUSTARD CAKES WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE

Lemon custard cakes, often included in many old cookbooks, are worth revisiting. Amazingly easy to make, they combine soft custard, which mysteriously sinks to the bottom, with tender cake on top.

Grated peel of 2 large lemons

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, separated

1/3 cup cake flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Pinch salt

1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries in light syrup, thawed

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Mix grated peel, lemon juice, butter, sugar and egg yolks in large mixing bowl. Stir in flour. Stir in buttermilk.

Use mixer to beat egg whites. When frothy, add salt. Beat until soft peaks form; do not over beat. Fold into batter.

Divide mixture among 6 greased 1-cup souffle dishes. Place dishes in shallow roasting pan. Set pan on oven rack and carefully pour boiling water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.

Bake at 350 degrees until puffed and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cracks may appear on surface. Transfer dishes from water to cooling rack. Cool at least 1 hour before serving. Can be made 1 day ahead, completely cooled and refrigerated, covered airtight. Reheat on a baking sheet, uncovered, in 300-degree oven until just slightly warm, about 10 minutes.

While souffles are baking, puree frozen raspberries, then strain, discarding seeds. Chill puree.

Run flexible paring knife around inside of souffle dishes and invert souffles on dessert plates. Spoon chilled raspberry puree over, dividing evenly. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

266 calories; 194 mg sodium; 124 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.01 gram fiber.

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