Posts Tagged ‘Shrimp’
One of my favorite dishes at asian restaurants is always fresh spring rolls. The beauty of the thing comes from it’s simplicity and contrasts. The perfect spring roll has fresh, crisp vegetables wrapped in smooth and silky rice paper wrapper and a dipping sauce that’s subtle enough to not overpower those less pronounced flavors. There is also a certain challenge to the aesthetic of the spring roll (read: it’s a stone cold bitch to roll them and make them look good) which adds to your enjoyment when you finally get to chow down.
You can make these with almost any variation of ingredients but I find it generally boils down to these groups:
You can use shrimp, pork, chicken or beef pretty much. And it doesn’t really matter how you cook it either. I’ve had my best successes by marinating one of the above and grilling it as the grill flavor really comes through in the end.
- Leafy greens
Usually lettuce or cabbage of some kind, cut into strips.
Typically Thai basil or mint leaves, but normal basil and cilantro are also good choices.
Take your pick: carrots, cucumbers, celerey, bean sprouts, bell peppers, eggplant maybe. Anything along those lines, julienned.
- Sometimes noodles
You can omit these if you want a more veggie filled spring roll, otherwise get some thin asian noodles like mai fun/cellophane noodles/glass noodles.
You’ll want to get everything prepared beforehand so once you get a rice paper wrapper moistened you can turn it into a spring roll asap. Get the protein cooked and sliced, all the veggies julienned, and the noodles boiled. Then set everything up assembly line style.
Spring roll wrappers start out as very stiff and fragile, and they also curl up on themselves when they hit water, so to soak them you really need a vessel which is wider than the wrapper and fairly shallow so it’s easy to get out of the water. I use a large dinner plate and it’s just big enough for the job. Pour some boiling water in the plate and let it sit for a minute or so until it’s cool enough you can get the wrapper in and out without burning yourself. It only needs 10-20 seconds under the water to get properly moistened, then take it out and try to keep it from a) tearing or b) sticking to itself. Lay it on a flat surface which is slightly wet, to keep the wrapper from sticking. Then start adding the ingredients. You will want to make a little pile of the filling about a third of the way up the wrapper, not right in the middle.
The order of how to place the filling doesn’t really matter, but whatever you want to show through the rice paper is what should go down first. If you’re using shrimp, they look good on the outside, otherwise maybe start with the herbs. You really don’t want to overfill these or it will be close to impossible to wrap them. After rolling a few of them you will get a good idea of the appropriate amount of filling.
Once you have everything piled up, take that bit of wrapper closest to you and start to roll that up on top of the filling. Once you have basically covered the filling with that piece of wrapper, fold in the two sides kind of like a burrito. After that, finish rolling the whole thing up and you are good to go. The wrapper will stick to itself so no need to use any kind of food adhesive to close it up. I know these are served as appetizers at most restaurants, but these things are so good I usually just end up making a meal out of them. One last thing to consider: the wrappers will dry out slowly if left in the open air. Usually when I’m making these for other people I try to finish making them as close as possible to when they will be eaten. Otherwise you could try keeping them in a tupperware with a moistened paper towel draped over them, that would probably help them keep for another hour or two.
The only other thing to figure out is what you’ll be dipping them in. Peanut sauce is a good choice, as is sweet and sour sauce. The Food Network has some good recipes for dipping sauces. Or if you happen to live with someone who makes a killer jalapeno jelly/syrup concoction, use that. That’s what I did.
Howdy football fans! My deepest apologies for missing last weeks post. Words cannot express my sorrow, but I know you’ll forgive me. To make up for the absence, this week I’m posting my favorite Renzo Original of all time! I was going to save this one for the Super Bowl post because it’s so damn good, but here you go: Renzo’s Jumbo Skrimp Skewers!
This recipe came as a result of having a pound of jumbo shrimp, a grill, and a desire for spicy deliciousness. There may be an ingredient or two that might refine this recipe or add a little something, but all of the ingredients were what I had on hand at the time. The only reason I don’t make this every single week is because of how unfortunately expensive jumbo shrimp are. Sometimes I can find a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp for a few dollars less per pound,
and when I see these things I pounce and stock up the freezer. Don’t try to substitute normal size shrimp for the Jumbos, they would be very dry and over-done by the time they get any grill marks and smoky flavor.
1 lb of Jumbo shrimp, the biggest you can find (peeled and deveined)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (damn Rachel Ray for tainting the acrnoym EVOO!)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp papeika
1 tsp red curry powder
5 cloves of minced garlic
2 serrano peppers, minced
1 large handful of chopper cilantro
Combine all ingredients in a Tupperware or ziplock bag and mix well before adding the skrimps, then let that marinate for 30 minutes or so. Do NOT let this sit longer than an hour. All that citric acid will essentially turn this into a ceviche and so the shrimp will be “cooked” before they even hit the grill. Take them out of the marinade and skewer them (if they’re really big skrimps you might not even need the skewers). Throw them all on a very hot grill (bright glowing coals or propane turned to high) and cook them for about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side. This is a delicate balance; you want a grill hot enough that you’ll get nice char marks with only about 100 seconds per side of the shrimp. They’re done when they’re opaque all the way to the center, which should match up with the cooking time above. Serve with whatever you like for a real dish, or just put the platter out in front of everyone watching the game for an appetizer.
VIKINGS PREVIEW SECTION:
I think our problems boil down to one main point: The O-line. It is horrid. Bryant McKinney is the most over paid (and overweight) player in the league, we can’t find a player to hold down the Center position for consecutive games, Loadholt might be good in a few years but he’s struggling right now, and Hutchinson is by far our best lineman but is past his prime. I know I’ve said recently that Favre is having problems with his arm, and I still think he is, but if we had a decent O-line we would at least be able to run the ball effectively when Favre is struggling to keep his head above water. As it is, there are practically no holes for AP to run through, Favre is getting destroyed after every single passing attempt, and Randy Moss will never be a downfield threat because the QB has to remain standing longer then 4 seconds in order to chuck it deep!
The Packers are having huge injury problems, but their biggest strength remains they’re passing game and I think Aaron Rodgers is going to throw it at Lito Shepperd all game long. This week boils down to the simple fact that I don’t have confidence in our offense to put up more than 250 yards (only 190 last week!!!), and I think it’s going to take more like 400 to put this one away. Final Score: Packers 30, Vikings 17.
Arthur’s Two Cents:
The jumbo shrimp sounds awesome. Citrus and some heat? I don’t see how you can go wrong.
The game: I’ve been saying the offensive line is the main problem since our first game versus the Saints. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been any improvement in the last 6 weeks. And with Greenbay leading the NFL in sacks I don’t see good things coming this week. Farve needs a few seconds to let Moss get down field, let alone to be able to throw to him. It seems that in each of the last two game Farve was able pull him self together and pound out about 5 consecutive minutes of solid play, regardless of the O-line folding like superman on laundry day. If he can do that twice this game, well we have a shot.
Given the GB injuries I foresee a lower scoring game: Vikings 9, Packers 12. While this is going to be a painful match-up to watch, at least I have the Packs defense in fantasy to dull the pain.