Grilling shrimp is hard – and delicious

Sometimes you find a recipe, and you know you need to make it as soon as possible. Those were my exact thoughts while perusing my co-worker’s Fitness Magazine late last week during lunch. There was a recipe for Grilled Curried Shrimp with Mango Cous Cous, and since I didn’t have a pen and paper with me, I took a picture of it with my iPhone so I could copy it down later.

While planning our meals for the week, I decided it’d be a nice Sunday night meal especially since it was a holiday weekend. I had to implore the help of my fiancé for the grilling, which turned out to be pretty difficult. I’ve always heard that preparing shrimp is some what of a pain, but I didn’t realize actually grilling them would be tedious as well. We decided to get frozen shrimp and I thawed it out in water for 15 minutes. They were already deveined but I need to peel it, which was annoying and a bit time consuming. After that, thought, the preparation was easy; cut up the mango, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic, cook the cous cous, mix the curry and coat the shrimp with it, then grill.

The Mango Cous Cous

Once I prepared the shrimp, I handed the reigns over to my fiancé to cook them. Well, we lost a few shrimp to the bottom of the grill, as they slipped through the grate. Thankfully, though, the recipe only called for 3/4LB. of shrimp and I used the whole bag which was a full pound. Other than losing a few shrimp, the meal went off without a hitch. And, since yesterday was such a gorgeous day, we were able to enjoy our meal outside with some home brewed beer! Such a nice end to summer (insert sad face here).

As Bubba would say, "The Shrimps"

Both my fiancé and I aren’t huge shrimp fans – or fans of much seafood for that matter. We do love sushi and good salmon, but that’s as far as our seafood adventures seem to go. So, making this particular dish was a little out of character for us, but with ingredients like red curry paste and jalapeno peppers, I knew it’d be worth it. We’d definitely make it again, but with the difficulty we had on the grill, and the time it took to peel the shrimp, it’ll be an every so often recipe.

Grilled Curry Shrimp and Mango Cous Cous
– Serves 4 –

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 cup whole wheat cous cous
1 mango, pleeled & diced
1 tsp finley diced jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
3/4 LB shrimp, cleaned & shelled (tails on)
1 7-oz container 2 percent Greek yogurt
1 tsp grated ginger Lime wedges (optional)

1. Cook couscous according to package. Combine w. mango, jalapeno pepper, 1 tsp lime juice and half the cilantro. Season w. salt & pepper
2. In large bowl, whisk together curry paste, vegetable oil, 1 tbsp garlic & remaining lime juice. Add shrimp & toss to coat
3. Mix together yogurt, ginger and remaining cliantro & garlic in small bowl. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Heat grill to medium high. Grill shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
5. Arrange shrimp and couscous on a platter and serve w. yogur sauce, adding lime wedges (optional).

Jalapeño Crab Cakes with Slaw & Salsa

I just so happened to super crabby all week, so I thought, what a better way to end the week then with something involving crab meat?! I’ve actually had this particular recipe in my hands for about a year, but never got around to making them. Since I’ve had it for so long, I of course don’t remember where I found the recipe, but when Googling it, it did come up on Epicurious, so we’ll stick with that!

I’ve never really been a huge water-creature fan; eating, swimming with, smelling, etc. I know I grew up loving shrimp and scallops, but at about six or so I swore them off. I guess I had a few bad experiences, like my great-grandmother pointing out a vein in a shrimp to turn me off from all seafood. As I got older, though, I decided to venture back out and sampled some salmon, tuna, crab, and other similar seafoods. Realizing they had some health benefits, I decided I would keep shrimp out, but let everything else in.

Since I don’t really buy seafood that often, I forgot how expensive it is! A pound of crab meat was almost $20! Thankfully the rest of the ingredients were cheap, and I have left overs for tonight’s left-over-arama!

Making the crab cakes was easy; I was just petrified of cutting the jalapeños. When I was younger I played with a pepper in a neighbor’s yard and made the mistake of touching my face afterwards without washing my hands. Believe me, that will never happen again! But then when talking to my mom about the recipe, she told me just cutting the peppers burned her hands so badly she need to put them in ice water. So what did I do? I took two plastic sandwich bags and put them over my hands, and chopped away!

As you all know, I’m impatient, so quick recipes are favorites of mine. Each of the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes, depending on how large you make them. Because my pan only fit 2 at a time, I turned on my oven (only to 200 degrees) and put the cakes that were already done in the oven to keep them warm, while I worked on the others.

We weren’t sure what to have with the cakes aside from the slaw and salsa, so I just grabbed a bag of the steam-fresh redskin potatoes that Green Giant makes. They were okay – I wasn’t a huge fan of the butter sauce, but it worked well enough. It was a huge meal – two crab cakes with slaw, the potatoes, AND a salad?! I was stuffed, in a good way.

The cakes had just the right amount of spice from the jalapeños without being overpowering or not noticeable, and the panko bread crumbs added a really nice crunch. And instead of using a typical mayo-based remoulade to go with them, a nice medium-spiced salsa was perfect.

Jalapeño Crab Cakes with Slaw & Salsa
-Serves 4-

1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over, patted dry
1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeño chiles (I used one)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil
4 cups (about 6 ounces) coleslaw mix [I used Rainbow mix]
2/3 cup purchased salsa
1/3 cup sour cream
Lime wedges

1. Line rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in eggs.
2. Using moist hands, shape mixture into 8 cakes, each about 3/4 inch thick. Arrange cakes on prepared sheet.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in each of 2 medium skillets over medium heat. Add 4 cakes to each. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Mound slaw mix on 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 cakes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Happy nomzing!