Bubba and Forrest Would Be Proud

Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue, whether fighting the Vietcong or recounting life in Alabama, had only one thing on his mind and that was shrimp.

Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it.

Apparently I've been channelling Bubba because everything coming out of my kitchen these last few weeks seems to feature shrimp. And I'm sure it doesn't hurt that my beloved Harris Teeter occasionally features the crustaceans on sale for Buy One, Get One Free. I'm such a sucker for the BOGO marketing pitch. While I realize I can buy one for half price, just the thought of getting something FREE is enough to drive me to fill up my cart with twice as much stuff, even knowing that I already have enough stock in my freezer to feed Bubba and Forrest's entire Army platoon. The lure of free stuff is hard to ignore.

Despite a traumatic catering experience some years ago that caused me to want to swear off shrimp for good (the actual swearing of nasty oaths is still pretty fresh in my mind too), I do adore the little buggers. They're quick, easy, and versatile and can be featured as an appetizer or main entree as well as ingredients in soups and salads.

Click here for more shrimp inspired dishes from my blog, or go out and pick up a copy of The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook. In the meantime I hope you'll enjoy two of my most recent kitchen creations.

Creamy Shrimp with Corn and Bacon
featured in Real Simple Magazine, April 2009

Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 10-ounce package frozen corn

1. In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine rice, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes. (Do not lift the lid or stir) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel, let cool, then break into pieces. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from skillet*.

3. Heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the shrimp, corn, and salt and pepper. Simmer until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the bacon; serve over the rice.

*Okay, so no magazine in its right mind is going to suggest that you actually cook something in bacon grease (God forbid!), so that little tweak is my own. Pork fat rules!

Shrimp with Orzo, Chickpeas & Feta

4 servings

1 1/2 cups orzo (about 9 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

Cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain orzo.
Whisk olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and minced garlic to blend in large serving bowl. Add drained garbanzo beans, cooked orzo, shrimp, tomatoes and chopped fresh oregano; toss salad to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in crumbled feta cheese. Serve orzo salad warm or at room temperature



Wish Upon A Chef Template by Ipietoon Cute Blog Design