Thursday, July 05, 2012

Another easy dish from the Haven

Spent my 4th at the Haven chillin' out and generally attempting to stay out of the sun - though I wandered with the group down to the Freedom Festival and got some pretty awesome homemade barbacoa tacos.  However, it being any month except November - March in Texas the weather was complete garbage and I was a sad panda because of the heat.
After the Freedom Festival some folk went on a grocery store run and brought back a metric shit-ton of gulf shrimp and the fixing for spring rolls and vermicelli bowls.  Everything was awesome except for peeling and deveining several lbs of shrimp.  If you have to wrangle with that much prepwork get an extra hand or two.  Just sayin'.

Amazonbutterfly made the spring rolls and did the veggie prep and I did the shrimp.  I think it was the first time I had homemade spring rolls and I think that they would a super easy thing to do when/if all the prep was done ahead of time (like sitting in containers in the fridge).  The shrimp while a bitch and a half to prep were simple to cook and I did a very straight forward garlic & ginger puree*/fish sauce stir fry with lime juice as a finish.  They turned out pretty good and kept their sweet shrimp taste with out turning into erasers.
I ended up eating most of mine for lunch today - cold - and it was an awesome thing to sit down to when the weather is so nasty out.

Here's the gist of the shrimp:

  • 1.5 shrimp per spring roll so think 18 per dozen spring rolls.  That is two per person.  Actually this is kind of awesome because you can go for bigger shrimp but not have to buy a lot.
  • For a vermicelli bowl, depending on how big of a bowl you wanna have I would say, maybe a half-dozen decent sized shrimp per bowl.
  • For a small # of shrimp, peeling and deveining isn't a terrible chore, especially if you get them fresh from the market.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp.
  • Heat oil in a pan (doesn't matter what kind, and you don't need to over oil the pan - you're not deep frying the shrimp.  A good way to test whether the oil is hot enough put a quick splash of liquid in the pan.  If it sizzles and dances the oil is hot enough.  Just don't overheat your oil to the smoking point.  That's bad.
  • Once the oil is ready, throw in a teaspoon or so of equal amounts of ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and then salt and pepper to taste.  Once you start smelling the ingredients, add your shrimp.  Don't overcrowd the pan - you'll drop the overall temperature of the pan - and keep the shrimp moving.  I add lime juice as a liquid while I'm cooking shrimp. 
  • Shrimp cook pretty quickly, almost surprisingly so, don't walk away from the pan.  Should take, roughly five minutes-ish.
  • Remove the shrimp from heat.  There you go, all done.  If you want to use them for spring rolls you might want to throw them in the fridge to cool them down before you cut them in half.
  • Try not to overcook the shrimp.  Doing so gives them a gum eraser texture.
That's it.  Shrimp are one of the easiest things to cook.
Hope all of you are well and had a safe 4th of July.  "Party on and be excellent to one anothers."

*We used a tube of garlic puree and one for ginger.  I also mashed up some fresh ginger for the juice.  I know some folks might poo-poo a tube of garlic but sometimes you just don't want to fuck around with peeling and all that jive.  Next time I think I would use my roasted garlic paste.

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