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25 ways to use shrimp in a quick dinner

Tired of peel-and-eat shrimp?

Here are 25 ways to turn America's most popular seafood into quick dinners using everyday ingredients and cooking techniques.

1. Shrimp Scampi

Melt ¼ cup butter with ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in large skillet until foaming. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and 1 onion chopped fine; saute until crisp-tender. Add 2 pounds of fully cooked, peeled shrimp and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Serve over linguine.

2. Quick Shrimp and Cheese Grits

Prepare cheese grits according to instructions on grits package. Meanwhile, cook several pieces of bacon until crispy; set aside, reserving fat in skillet. Season uncooked, peeled shrimp with salt and paprika (or Old Bay). Saute in the bacon fat (you might not need it all; discard excess fat before cooking) until pink. Spread grits in shallow serving bowl and top with cooked shrimp. Garnish with sliced scallions and crumbled bacon bits.

3. Shrimp Louis Salad

Mix small, cooked salad shrimp with chopped celery and Thousand Island dressing. Chill. Either stuff a large, seeded tomato with the shrimp or arrange the mixture on a bed of lettuce surrounded by tomato wedges and slices of hard-boiled egg.

4. Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Pesto

Thread large or extra-large peeled, uncooked shrimp with tails onto bamboo or metal skewers. Brush with basil pesto and grill over medium-hot flames. They will be done quickly; about 3 minutes a side, depending on size.

5. Shrimp Dip

Mix 2 cans drained shrimp with 1 small, chopped onion, 12 ounces softened crease cheese, ¾ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon horseradish, 2 tablespoons ketchup and 2 teaspoons dill weed. You can use an electric mixer and then fold in the onion and shrimp by hand. It's best made a day ahead.

6. Stuffed Shrimp

Make a stuffing from chopped mushrooms sauteed in butter and then mixed with dried Italian-seasoned bread crumbs. Stuffing should be wet but hold together when pressed. Butterfly extra-large peeled, uncooked shrimp. Stuff with mushroom mixture and place in a buttered casserole dish, stuffing side up. Bake for about 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

7. Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktails

To make the cocktail sauce, mix 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes with 2 tablespoons each horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, two celery ribs finely chopped and 4 shots of cold vodka. Season with pepper. Divide the sauce among four martini glasses and hook four cold, cooked jumbo shrimp on the edges. Garnish with lemon wedges.

8. Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

Brush frozen popcorn shrimp (about 16 ounces) with melted butter and then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning. Bake according to package instructions. When done, layer in warm corn tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and a sauce made from sour cream mixed with salsa.

9. Garlic Shrimp

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet until foaming. Add 2 pounds of peeled, uncooked large shrimp and up to 6 cloves of minced garlic. When shrimp turns pink, remove from heat and add a handful of chopped parsley, the juice of 1 lemon and salt to taste. Serve with rice or French bread to sop up garlic sauce.

10. Shrimp Fried Rice

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add chopped onion, sliced scallion and minced garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 pound peeled, uncooked medium shrimp and cook until just pink. Mix in 2 cups room temperature cooked rice and a handful of frozen peas, heat through and add 1½ cups soy sauce.

11. Shrimp and Feta Pasta

Cook a package of orzo according to instructions. While that's cooking, saute 1 pound of peeled, uncooked large shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic. Remove from heat when just cooked. Mix drained, cooked orzo with shrimp and 1 can diced tomatoes, ½ cup of white wine, a couple teaspoons of Greek seasoning and salt and pepper. Layer in lightly greased casserole and dot with feta cheese crumbles. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes. Before serving, garnish with chopped, fresh parsley.

12. Shrimp Melts

Melt ¼ cup butter in large skillet and saute 1 sliced scallion with 1 pound medium, uncooked peeled shrimp. With slotted spoon, remove shrimp but leave as much butter as you can. Set aside. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, which should make a thick paste. Cook for a of couple minutes, stirring. Slowly pour in 2 cups of milk; stir constantly until mixture has thickened. Meanwhile, preheat broiler and toast four English muffins, split. Return shrimp to sauce. Spoon shrimp over muffins and top with thin slice of tomato and provolone. Broil until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

13. Shrimp Frittata

Preheat the broiler. In a large, oven-proof skillet, saute diced onions, red pepper and minced garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ½ pound of peeled, uncooked large or medium shrimp. Cook until just pink. Whisk 6 to 8 eggs with some shredded Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of milk. Pour into pan and let cook for a few minutes, pushing egg away from edges to facilitate cooking. When mixture is close to set, place under broiler to brown and finish cooking.

14. Barbecue Shrimp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together 1 cup melted butter, ½ cup Worcestershire sauce, 4 garlic cloves, chopped, 2 bay leaves, 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Add 2 lemons cut in wedges. Place 4 pounds unpeeled, large uncooked shrimp in a large baking pan and pour sauce over all. Bake for 35 minutes. Excellent served with grits.

15. Goat Cheese and Shrimp Quesadillas

Saute 1 onion and 1 minced garlic clove in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add peeled, uncooked medium shrimp, cook until pink. Remove from skillet. Layer shrimp mixture on a flour tortilla with knobs of goat cheese and some shredded Jack cheese. Top with another tortilla and place in skillet; cook about 2 minutes on each side over medium heat, until cheese melts. Top with slices of ripe avocado.

16. Shrimp Po Boys

Batter and deep-fry medium uncooked shrimp if you'd like or use frozen fried shrimp and bake according to package instructions. Pile on soft hoagies with shredded lettuce, tomato slices, pickle slices and spicy mayonnaise. Make your own by mixing mayo, Creole mustard and fresh lemon juice.

17. Dilled Shrimp Salad Croissants

Mix mayonnaise with a bit of sour cream, chopped fresh dill and fresh lemon juice. Gently fold cooked salad shrimp into the sauce with finely chopped celery. Scoop into split croissants and garnish with ice-cold Romaine leaves.

18. Shrimp Caesar

Make a classic Caesar salad and serve with skewers of uncooked shrimp that have been grilled simply with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

19. Bourbon Sesame Shrimp

Marinate peeled, uncooked jumbo shrimp in equal parts bourbon, sesame oil and soy sauce for up to 2 hours. Grill or broil for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Dip back into marinade, roll in sesame seeds to coat and return to grill or broiler until seeds are lightly toasted, turning once.

20. Italian Shrimp Bake

Put several large, peeled uncooked shrimp in gratin dishes or individual ramekins with basil-infused tomato sauce. Top with cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 12 to 15 minutes.

21. Shrimp and Avocado Wraps

In a bowl, mash an avocado with about 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese. Mix in lemon juice and a big splash of hot sauce to make the mixture spreadable. Smear it on tortillas then layer on spinach leaves and a few cooked, peeled shrimp. Roll up.

22. Spicy Chorizo and Shrimp Kebabs

Thread chunks of cured (not raw) chorizo alternately with peeled uncooked shrimp and grape tomatoes. Brush shrimp and grape tomatoes with olive oil mixed with minced garlic. Grill for about three minutes per side until shrimp is pink.

23. Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

Peel uncooked shrimp and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and a clove or two of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Spread shrimp and broccoli separately on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle a little olive oil over the broccoli. Roast at 400 degrees until shrimp are pink all the way through, about 5 minutes, and broccoli can be pierced easily with a knife, 8 to 10 minutes.

24. Shrimp Boil

Bring a big pot of water to boil and add lemon juice, smashed garlic cloves and coarse salt. Sprinkle in Old Bay. Toss in small whole red potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes. Add shucked corn in manageable lengths, and about 5 minutes later add unpeeled, uncooked large or extra-large shrimp. Cook for another five minutes or so, drain and dump in bowl.

25. Thai Curry Shrimp

Heat a can of unsweetened coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of Thai green curry paste and the juice of half a lime. Add hot sauce to taste. Make rice, and when it's almost done, add cooked shrimp to sauce to heat through. Pour curry sauce over rice and serve.

Information from Food.com, about.com, Food Network, Marthastewart.com and Times files.

Cooking with shrimp

The worst thing you can do to shrimp is overcook it, which will make it stringy and tough. Even the largest specimen will be done in less than 10 minutes.

You'll know they are done when the crustaceans transform from gray (though sometimes pinky) and viscous to pink-coral and opaque. They will continue to cook for a minute or two when removed from the heat, so it's almost better to do that before they are quite done.

Other shrimp tidbits:

• When buying shrimp, allow for about ½ pound per person.

• Never-frozen, head-on shrimp are usually the most flavorful. Save the heads to make stock for gumbo or other dishes. They can be frozen in an air-tight bag.

• At grocery stores, previously frozen shrimp is often a thawed version of what they sell frozen. If that's the case, buy frozen. It's cheaper. Plus, you can get it on sale and keep it frozen for another day.

• There are many sizes of shrimp, salad being the tiniest and often sold cooked, and extra-colossal, which total about 10 per pound. The most common sizes are medium, large, extra-large and jumbo, and they get more expensive as they get bigger. The more you get per pound, the smaller the shrimp. For extra-large, you'll get about 26 to 30 per pound and for medium, 42-50.

— Janet K. Keeler

25 ways to use shrimp in a quick dinner 08/08/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 4:47pm]

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