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GOOD COOKING

A Shrimp Shebang

July 01, 1998|ABBY MANDEL

Summer is when "cooking dinner" often means grilling, and although steaks, hamburgers and ribs are very tempting, shrimp makes a lighter yet delicious main course.

Grilling shrimp in the shell offers some protection against overcooking, and peeling the shells at the table creates an informal atmosphere. Just be sure to have a bowl for the shells and a pile of paper napkins close at hand.

Serve the shrimp with a vegetable pilaf of celery, peas and green onions, a refreshing cucumber salad with mint, and warm, buttered pita wedges. Consider a light, easy dessert: Separate bowls of cut-up sugared fresh pineapple, sliced strawberries and lemon sorbet.

Mandel's most recent book is "Celebrating the Midwestern Table" (Doubleday & Co., 1996).

GRILLED SPICY SHRIMP IN THE SHELL

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

2/3 cup lime juice

1 1/2 cups loosely packed cilantro sprigs, plus extra for garnish

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste

36 large shrimp with shells

18 lime wedges

Process orange zest and juice, garlic, honey, oil, lime juice, cilantro, soy sauce and red pepper flakes in food processor until cilantro is minced. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting sauce and 1/2 cup for dipping sauce. Pour remaining sauce into plastic food bag and set aside.

Snip shrimp shells down center with kitchen shears, leaving shells intact. Devein under cold running water. Blot shrimp with paper towels and add to marinade in plastic bag, manipulating bag and marinade so shrimp are well-coated. Close bag, pressing close to shrimp. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.

Thread 1 lime wedge on 1 of 6 skewers (soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before skewering). Then thread each of 6 shrimp through top and tail onto skewer. Thread another lime wedge on skewer after shrimp, pushing shrimp together as necessary to fit on skewer. Repeat with remaining 5 skewers, lime wedges and shrimp.

Grill over hot coals and a few soaked mesquite chips until seared, about 2 minutes. Brush shrimp generously with some of reserved 1/4 cup basting sauce and carefully turn. Brush top side with additional basting sauce and cook until opaque, about 1 minute.

Garnish with remaining cilantro sprigs and remaining lime wedges. Divide reserved 1/2 cup dipping sauce between 6 small ramekins and set on each plate. Serve hot or at room temperature.

6 servings. Each serving:

224 calories; 567 mg sodium; 64 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 0.09 gram fiber.

SLICED CUCUMBERS WITH FRESH MINT (IT'S A SNAP)

3 cucumbers, peeled, split lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons minced fresh mint, plus mint leaves for garnish

Toss together cucumbers, vinegar, oil, salt and red pepper flakes in large bowl. Refrigerate up to 6 hours.

Before serving, toss well, then pour off excess liquid. Add mint and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve chilled.

6 servings. Each serving:

73 calories; 261 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.92 gram fiber.

RICE PILAF WITH GINGER, PEAS AND GREEN ONIONS

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1 cup finely diced celery

1 1/2 cups rice

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed

2 cups frozen baby peas

4 small green onions, thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes

Salt

Heat oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic, ginger and celery. Cook, stirring often, until hot but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until liquid is almost absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.

Stir in peas. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in green onions. Season to taste with red pepper flakes and salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

6 servings. Each serving:

204 calories; 481 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.81 gram fiber.

*

Chandler Hagelman handpainted French pottery from Salutations, Brentwood.

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