Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spicy Shrimp and Rice

I blame this dish on both John and Sarah. Last May, she served our family a yummy meal that had shrimp in it and casually mentioned that she'd bought the shrimp at Aldi. Now, I've eaten shrimp maybe four times in my life, and, though I think it's yummy, it's not something I browse through at grocery stores. I don't browse through grocery stores at all; I arrive with an agenda, fight my way through the hordes to reach what's on my list, and arrive back at the van, usually unharmed.

Last week, however, I saved money in other areas, and Saturday found me insecurely browsing through the shrimp in an Aldi freezer case, wondering if the least expensive shrimp were less healthy or tasty than the plump ones. Three cheers for stingy Ebenezer!

John's to blame, too, because after his employer sent him to a conference at a fancy hotel and paid for meals eaten at the restaurant of his choice, he's been mumbling about spicy shrimp in his sleep. So, thanks to Sarah's knowledge of all things seafood and John's nighttime murmurs, I trawled the internet recipe archives, made spicy shrimp and rice, and I even enjoyed it.

Below, I give the rough amounts of the spices I used, but after I adjusted spices to what I thought was the perfect amount, I shoveled in loads more cayenne and black pepper, because I knew that John would beam at me for it. He did, and that beam was worth the burn. If you or someone you love is like John, add even more cayenne, to taste. If you don't like things that spicy, reduce the amounts below accordingly.

a bag of cheap, foreign shrimp, the kind that's fully cooked and frozen (I think it was 10 or 12 oz of the teensy 70-90/lb shrimp )
1 tsp. cayenne, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
3/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
@ 6-8 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
@ 1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup butter

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute the minced garlic in butter for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the rest of the spices, and stir in the thawed shrimp (remove their tails before you dump them in if you want to avoid removing them during supper). Cook until heated through and serve alongside the rice below.

4 and 1/2 cups cooked rice
After cooking, flavor the rice with at least one tablespoon lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, salt, and butter, to taste. Add enough lemon juice to cut through the spice and to balance out the crazy-hot shrimp that are about to join it.

Eat while saying, "Ow! Good! OW! Too spicy! GOOD!" at your beaming husband.

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