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QUICK FIX

Peel Your Own

January 21, 1998|JOAN DRAKE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A peel-and-eat shrimp dinner ignores just about every rule of etiquette.

Fingers are the time-honored tools for shelling, and a bib or towel around your neck is probably the only thing that will keep you from wearing melted butter or cocktail sauce stains the rest of the evening.

When it comes to the table, a washable plastic cloth is a lot more practical than white linen, and starched napkins don't work nearly as well for wiping fingers as dampened terry-cloth hand towels. A large empty platter won't win any awards as a centerpiece, but it is a convenient place to discard the shells.

One concession to civility is serving the mounds of cooked shrimp on individual plates rather than on a communal platter. It keeps people who peel or eat slowly from leaving the table hungry.

Medium shrimp are best suited for this recipe. They're tender, flavorful and large enough to keep your taste buds satisfied while you peel another. These recipes are easily doubled or tripled and make a fun menu for a party.

MENU (30 MINUTES OR LESS)

Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

Creamy Coleslaw

Warm Sourdough Bread

CREAMY COLESLAW

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Salt, pepper

1/2 small head cabbage

1 large carrot

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice or shred cabbage. Grate carrot.

Combine cabbage, carrot and dressing in large bowl.

About 1 quart or 4 servings. Each serving:

179 calories; 205 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.28 gram fiber.

PEEL-AND-EAT SHRIMP

2 pounds shrimp in shells

3 (12-ounce) cans or bottles beer

1 onion, quartered

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup lemon juice

4 whole cloves

10 black peppercorns

3 to 4 sprigs celery leaves

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

Seafood cocktail sauce

Melted butter

Rinse shrimp in colander with cold water. Set aside to drain.

Bring beer, onion, garlic, lemon juice, cloves, peppercorns, celery leaves, bay leaf, cumin, paprika and mustard to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Increase heat to high and add shrimp. When cooking liquid returns to boil, stir and cover. Reduce heat and simmer until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.

Remove shrimp from cooking liquid with slotted spoon. Cool briefly, then serve with cocktail sauce and melted butter for dipping.

4 servings. Each serving without cocktail sauce or butter:

281 calories; 229 mg sodium; 221 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 31 grams protein; 0.28 gram fiber.

COUNTDOWN

25 minutes before: Slice cabbage and grate carrot.

20 minutes before: Make dressing for coleslaw and combine with cabbage and carrot.

15 minutes before: Rinse shrimp. Bring beer and spices to boil for shrimp.

10 minutes before: Cook shrimp. Warm bread.

INGREDIENTS

STAPLES

Butter

Celery

Bay leaves

Black peppercorns

Whole cloves

Cumin

Garlic

Lemons

Mayonnaise

Dry mustard

Onion

Paprika

Pepper

Salt

Sugar

White wine vinegar

SHOPPING LIST

3 (12-ounce) bottles beer

1 small head cabbage

1 large carrot

2 pounds unshelled shrimp

1 (12-ounce) bottle seafood cocktail sauce

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1 loaf sourdough bread

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SHORTCUT

Use a food processor to shred the cabbage and grate the carrot. Or substitute 4 cups packaged coleslaw mix for the cabbage and carrot.

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