A different look at familiar food
March 30, 2016
I have probably eaten a thousand pounds of shrimp, and a whole plantation’s worth of pineapple, in my lifetime. I love ’em both. Give me a choice of those two and anything else, and 90 percent of the time, I’ll choose them.
I love them any way you cook them. I will confess to being less crazy about fried shrimp, but put a plate of hot, GOOD fried shrimp in front of me, and I’ll not turn them down. And pineapple…well, I’ve yet to see the way I don’t care for it.
Which is why I’m always willing to try something new with either of them.
Back last fall, you will recall I went to the beach, and brought back seafood, including two pounds of royal red shrimp. They had resided in the freezer, in their protective block of ice (if you’re going to freeze seafood, it’s much better to do so in water; keeps it from getting freezer burned) ever since. I decided today I was tired of moving them every time I wanted to get to something else.
So I set them out in the sink last night so that block of ice could melt, and put what was left of the ice, along with the shrimps, in a bowl of water this morning, and stuck that back in the fridge.
I was not certain exactly how to handle these. The only royal reds I’ve ever eaten were at the coast, and they were fresh. I didn’t know if that meant they didn’t freeze well, or what. When fresh, they have a texture and sweet flavor much like lobster, and they’re typically served with drawn butter. Which meant I didn’t want to cook them like i normally boil shrimp, in a Cajun boil.
I opted to just boil in heavily salted water with the juice and carcasses of a medium lemon, cut into halves. I use the juice of another lemon in the cocktail sauce, and threw those halves in as well. Let the water come to a boil, dumped in the rinsed shrimp, which I had de-headed in deference to Child A, though royal reds are always served head-on on the coast, and let it barely come back to a boil before I pulled them off.
Verdict: I see why they don’t freeze them. Taste was excellent, but the texture was soft, and a couple were positively mushy. I guess it’s one of those that ought to just be served fresh, which would be fine if I were at the coast more. I didn’t deal with the butter, deciding just to go with the cocktail sauce, so I stirred up a batch of that as well.
I had a couple of pineapples I had snagged at the grocery back before Easter, when they were 99 cents each. I wanted grilled pineapple, but I wasn’t firing up the grill just for pineapple. So I decided to brush them with teriyaki sauce and roast them in the oven with the broccoli.
Problem the first: No teriyaki. So I whisked up a vaguely Asian glaze — chili sauce, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce — and brushed with that, and slid them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375.
This was good stuff. The roasting tenderized the pineapple a bit, but it still had that bright, sweet pineapple flavor, accentuated by the salty glaze. I will do this again, and will assuredly do it when I am grilling pork chops, as pork and pineapple seem to have a natural affinity for each other.
OK. I’m off to excavate my freezer and find the andouille sausage I KNOW is in there, as I am making red beans and rice for a crowd tonight. Except they’re cranberry beans and rice, as I had no red beans in the pantry last night when I set out to soak them. Oh, well. They’re burbling along in the Instant Pot as we speak. Also have to grab some ham out of the freezer to go in with it, and maybe pick up a can of cooked chicken at the grocery.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have a fine day. I’ve got to get busy.