I mostly eat fish, whole roasted or steamed, blackened, or dusted with one of my favorite condiments, chile limon, and quickly pan-fried in a tiny bit of oil, but I live in New York City where all kinds of fish are available. I look forward to seasonal offerings such as bay scallops, soft shell crabs, shad roe (I don’t really like it but a lot of people do) but realize that most people around the country are lucky to find fresh tilapia which , by the way, I do like eventhough, cooks look down their noses because it is always farm-raised, but at least it usually has not been frozen.
Shrimp on the other hand is usually frozen and thawed before being sold but is widely available and very popular with most home cooks. I always buy it unpeeled and , either cook it in its shell or peel them and make a shrimp stock and cook the peeled shrimp in it for that extra layer of flavor. Here are some of my favorite recipes and one that my customers, friends and I like.
Shrimp Salad is one of my best entertaining dishes. I can prepare everything a few hours before I plan to serve. I put the dressing on the bottom of the serving dish a la Martha Stewart and toss it to mix well just before serving.
Another great dish for entertaining or when I want to treat yourself are these langoustines or giant shrimp with rosemary if your guests are not too finicky and don’t mind a little garlic oil oozing from this delicacy that I copied from French chef Michel Rostang.
These Camarones Rancheros (Ranch-style shrimp) were a big hit at ZARELA
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 cups Pico de Gallo Norteño (see recipe)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 lb. peeled medium shrimp
Toast the anise seed and cumin seed on a dry, hot large saute pan , shaking the pan constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Add vegetable oil to the pan and heat over high until almost smoky. Add the salsa and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the anise seed, cumin and oregano and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Add the shrimp and cook for approximately 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until pink. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
I learend to make this during my university years in Guadalajara where I was “adopted” by Tia Cuquita and her maiden daughters. They are basically a Mexican version of scampi and are perfect for people who don’t like or can’t have spicy food.
LANGOSTINOS TIA CUQUITA
I met Dona Cuquita, an old-fashioned matron with three unmarried older daughters, while I was studying in Guadalajara. Dona Cuquita was stern-looking, with hair in a bun and little glasses on the tip of her nose, but this belied a heart of gold. Her oldest daughter, also named Cuquita, took a liking to me and welcomed the opportunity to practice her English. They often invited me to their family comidas, and what delicious lunches they were! Dona Cuquita was a fabulous cook, and kind enough always to give me her recipes for the dishes we ate.
These langoustines were part of a memorable meal. Unfortunately, it is hard to get fresh langoustines. You might need to substitute either very large shrimps or prawns (like the Asian freshwater prawns widely sold in U.S. fish stores). The Italian parsley is used a lot in Mexican recipes; we call it “perejil.”
2 pounds fresh langoustines, lobsterettes, Asian freshwater
prawns, or “colossal” (l0 or fewer to a pound) shrimp
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
l/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
6 garlic cloves
l/4 cup Italian parsley
l/2 cup dry white wine (more or less as needed)
3 tablespoons butter
Leave langoustines in the shell; rinse well under cold running water. With a small sharp knife, slit open the belly enough to hold a small amount of stuffing. Sprinkle the inside of the belly with a little salt and pepper, then with lime juice.
Mince garlic and parsley together very finely and place in a small bowl. Gradually add just enough white wine to moisten them. Stuff a little of this mixture into the incision in each langoustine.
In a saute pan or saucepan with tight-fitting lid and large enough to hold the langoustines comfortably in one layer, heat the butter over high heat until fragrant and sizzling. Arrange langoustines shell side down. Cook covered, adjusting heat as necessary, just until langoustines are opaque, 5 – 6 minutes.
I will be adding more recipes but this is a start