Green Cuisine: Shrimp
Many chefs around the country have made a commitment to using sustainable, organic, and local ingredients that are healthy for their customers and the planet. Here three renowned chefs, to mark the arrival of a new supply of U.S. certified organic shrimp, share some of their favorite recipes made with ecologically correct shrimp.
Nora Pouillon, chef and owner of Nora and Asia Nora (www.noras.com) in Washington, D.C., is a true believer in an environmental lifestyle and a longtime advocate for organic foods, cleaner oceans, and the preservation of fish populations. Her projects promote the concept that food should be delicious as well as good for you and the environment. For 27 years Restaurant Nora has featured an organic multi-ethnic cuisine, and in 1999 it became the first certified organic restaurant in the United States. Asia Nora serves organic Asian-fusion food.
Rick Bayless of Chicago’s famed Fontera Grill and Topolobampo (www.fronterakitchens.com) is on the board of the Chef’s Collaborative, a national group made up of members of the culinary community and beyond who celebrate the joys of local, seasonal, artisanal cooking, and who support environmentally sound agricultural practices. (For a list of the group’s member restaurants, visit www.chefscollaborative.org). Time magazine hailed Bayless as a “cookbook superstar.” The New York Times said his cookbooks make "true Mexican food user-friendly for Americans.” Bayless's cooking often features U.S. certified organic shrimp.
Russell Moore is a chef at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Café (www.chezpanisse.com) in Berkeley, California. He works directly with the restaurant’s farmers and other suppliers to create ever-changing lunch and dinner menus. Many of his recipes can be found in the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook and in Chez Panisse Vegetables.
||Grilled Shrimp with Mango-Avocado Relish and Watercress,
(From Cooking With Nora)
1 large, ripe, soft mango
2 ripe and soft avocados (6 to 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced cilantro or mint leaves
1 small chili pepper, minced (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed, washed and spun dry, for garnish
4 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 15 minutes, or 4 metal skewers
To Prepare Mango-Avocado Relish
Halve the mango, cutting around each side of the large pit. Peel the halves and cut into ¼-inch cubes. Halve the avocados, remove the pit, peel, and cut the flesh into ¼-inch cubes. Mix the mango and avocado with the lime juice, cilantro or mint, optional chili, and salt and pepper to taste.
To Prepare Grilled Shrimp
Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon of the marinade and set aside. Put the shrimp into the bowl, toss to coat, and marinate for at least 15 minutes (preferably 1 hour).
Remove the shrimp from the marinade, and thread them evenly on the 4 bamboo skewers. (Skewers are easier to turn on the grill or in the broiler than individual shrimp.) Grill or broil for 1 minute on each side or until the shrimp are opaque but just cooked through. Don’t overcook the shrimp or they will become rubbery and tough.
Toss the watercress in the reserved marinade. Arrange the shrimp in a half-circle on the plate. Place a spoonful of relish in the center. Garnish with a small bunch of watercress.
|Caldo de Camarón Asado (Spicy Grilled Shrimp Stew)
Serves 6 generously
(From “One Plate at a Time,” singled out at the 2001 James Beard Awards—the culinary equivalent of the Oscars—as the “Best International Cookbook."
1 small white onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1½ pounds (9 to 12 medium plum or 3 medium-large round) ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 28-ounce can good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra virgin, plus additional for brushing or spraying the shrimp and vegetables
6 cups good chicken broth
1 to 2 large sprigs fresh epazote (or a small handful fresh cilantro or parsley if no epazote is available), plus a few sprigs for garnish
2 pounds (about 48) medium-large shrimp
12 bamboo skewers, about 7 inches long, soaked in water at least 20 minutes
About 2 tablespoons pure ground chili (preferably ancho or guajillo chilies, though New Mexico will do nicely)
3 medium (about 1½ pounds) sweet potatoes (I especially like the purple-skin Mexican sweet potatoes called camotes morados), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
OR 3 medium chayotes (about 2 pounds), halved, pitted, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
OR 3 large (about 1½ pounds) Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
Flavored stew base
In a blender or food processor, combine the onion and garlic with the tomatoes. Process to a smooth puree.
In a medium-size (4- to 5-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela), heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add it all at once and stir continually until darker in color and cooked down to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the broth and epazote (or one of its stand-ins). Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, peel the shrimp, leaving their final joint and tail intact. Devein each shrimp by making a shallow incision down the back and scraping out what is usually a dark veinlike intestinal track. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers (about 4 on each), being careful not to bunch them too tightly. Lay the skewers out flat on a tray and sprinkle them on both sides with salt and ground chilies.
Finishing the dish
Heat a gas grill to medium or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the coals are covered with gray ash and medium hot.
Taste the broth and season it with salt, usually about 3/4 teaspoon; keep warm, covered, over low heat.
Generously brush or spray the sliced sweet potato, chayote, or potato with olive oil, sprinkle both sides of each piece with salt, and grill, turning occasionally, until soft through, 10 to 15 minutes. Divide between 6 large soup bowls.
Lightly brush or spray the shrimp with olive oil and lay on the grill. Cook until just done through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Ladle the steaming broth over the vegetables in each soup bowl. Lay 2 skewers of shrimp in each bowl (they’ll rise dramatically from the broth, toward the edge of the bowls). Garnish with an herb sprig and you’re ready to present this dramatic, lusty soup to your guests.
The flavored stew base is excellent when made several hours—even a day or two—in advance; just before serving reheat it to the consistency you want, if necessary. Adjust the seasonings. The vegetables and shrimp should be grilled just before serving.
||Shrimp Grilled on Rock Salt
(From the Chez Panisse Menu cookbook)
About 2½ pounds rock salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
About 1 tablespoon medium-coarse cracked black pepper
18 fresh large shrimp in their shells
2 lemons (optional)
Choose a very heavy lidded pan large enough to hold the shrimp comfortably; an enameled cast-iron casserole 2 to 3 inches deep works well. Spread a 1-inch layer of rock salt in the pan, put the lid on, and heat for 30 to 40 minutes in a preheated 400-degree F oven.
Mix the softened butter with the tablespoon of black pepper. Put the butter in a small saucepan.
Put 18 very fresh, large shrimp on the heated rock salt, cover, and bake for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter over low heat until it just melts. Turn the shrimp over, cover, and bake another 2 minutes, until the shrimp have turned pink and are sizzling.
After the shrimp have been turned, pour a tablespoon of melted butter on each of six warm serving plates. Serve very hot, with lemon wedge, if desired.
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