For healthful eating, don’t shrink from shrimp

Detroit Free Press


One of the hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet is eating a variety of fish and other seafood.

But I often hear people say that they don’t eat enough of it because they don’t know how to prepare it.

While shrimp is often thought of as being more of an appetizer, it fits right in as a main dish, too. Because shrimp is a lean source of protein, it can fit into your weekly seafood rotation.

Also, shrimp says special whether you’re throwing a casual dinner party on the deck or hosting a sit-down affair.

There are many options for buying shrimp at grocery stores or seafood markets (we won’t get into the farmed versus wild debate here). Having frozen shrimp on hand means you can whip up an appetizer or dinner in little time. It doesn’t take long to defrost. And you can buy shrimp already deveined and partially peeled. The latter option makes it easier to grill shrimp in their shells.

Grace Derocha, registered dietitian, certified diabetics educator and health coach for BCBS of Michigan, says the benefits of a Mediterranean diet can help reduce risk of certain diseases.

“It’s a diet higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats,” Derocha says. “Saturated fats saturate your arteries more, while the others let the blood run through your arteries and veins more efficiently.”

When cooking, Derocha says, try to use olive oil because there is better unsaturated fat value.

Derocha also says meat is more of an afterthought with the Mediterranean diet, hence the focus on fish and shellfish.

Grilled shrimp with vegetable bread salad

Prep time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Serves 4

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

For shrimp:

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen extra large shrimp

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, peeled, finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian parsley

3 tablespoons olive oil

6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

For bread salad:

1/2 whole grain baguette

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup halved kalamata olives

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if desired. Rinse shrimp and pat them dry. Thread three shrimp on each skewer, leaving 1 / 4-inch between them. Place shrimp skewers on a sided baking sheet or in a pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and olive oil. Brush all over the shrimp. Let the shrimp sit about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the bread salad. Cut the baguette into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Place in the oven until lightly browned and toasted, about 15 minutes.

Place the cubes in a bowl, add the tomatoes, olives, red onion and parsley. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Toss to coat. Let sit 15 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium. Grill shrimp about 5 to 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once. Remove from the grill.

Serve shrimp on platter with the bread salad on the side.

Iron skillet shrimp with grapefruit

Serves 4

Note: Folks on certain medications cannot tolerate grapefruit, so this also can be made with champagne (Ataulfo) mangoes. The subbed fruit makes the dish less pink, but it tastes just as good.

Adapted from “100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes From Clean Food Made Fresh,” by Sam Talbot (Oxmoor House). Serve with warm cornbread.

2 pink grapefruits (may substitute 2 peeled Ataulfo or champagne mangoes, cut into chunks)

One 1-inch piece fresh ginger root

1 lime

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large raw shrimp

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 cup skinned hazelnuts

1/4 medium red onion

8 ounces spring mix lettuces

Use a sharp knife to peel each grapefruit, making sure to remove all the white pith. Cut the fruit into supremes, working with one grapefruit at a time: Holding it in your hand, cut each segment away from the membrane on either side, letting the supreme segments fall into a mixing bowl. (The idea is to leave behind all of the membrane and any remaining pith.) Discard the membranes.

Peel and grate the ginger over a large liquid measuring cup. Cut the lime in half, then squeeze in all its juice. Add the rice vinegar, mustard, honey, 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the oil in a slow, steady stream to form an emulsified dressing.

Discard the shrimp shell tails, if they are still attached. Lay the shrimp on a cutting board or piece of plastic wrap, then sprinkle them on both sides with the paprika, coriander and the remaining salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until opaque and pink. Transfer the shrimp to the mixing bowl with the grapefruit supremes; return the skillet to the stove top, over medium-low heat.

Add the hazelnuts to the pan; toast them for a few minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Cut the 1/4 red onion into very thin slices and add to the mixing bowl, along with the lettuces and hazelnuts. Drizzle half the dressing over and toss gently to coat.

Divide among individual plates. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Per serving (using half the dressing): 420 calories, 37 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 275 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar

Gemelli with shrimp, peas and green garlic

Serves 6

Recipe from the Chicago Tribune.

1 pound gemelli pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined

6 green garlic stalks (or green onions), chopped

2 cups peas

1 cup dry white wine

Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet; add shrimp. Cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 minutes; remove.

Stir in green garlic stalks (or green onions), peas; wine; and salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Simmer just until peas are tender, 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp and drained pasta. Add some pasta water if mixture seems dry.

Beach shack shrimp rolls

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 3 minutes

Chill: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Eisler, who concocted it while on a fantasy beach vacation.

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp in their shells

2 tablespoons pickling spice

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

Finely grated zest of half a lemon

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

8 long potato rolls (split-top or standard hot-dog style)

If shrimp are not deveined, use kitchen scissors to cut shells along the curve of the back and, working under cool running water, rinse away the dark “vein” (digestive track). Now shrimp are clean, but still secure in their protective shells.

Find your steamer pot or improvise with a large lidded pot and a colander that fits inside. Fill pot with cold water to a depth of 1 inch. Check that the basket clears the water. (The goal is to steam, not boil, the shrimp.) Remove steamer basket or colander.

Stir pickling spice into the water. Bring to a boil. Place shrimp in basket; carefully lower basket into pot. Cover, reduce heat a bit and let shrimp steam until pink and curled, about 3 minutes. Pull out basket. Pour shrimp into a shallow bowl and chill – still in shells – until cool, about 45 minutes.

Pull off shells, and cut shrimp into bite-size chunks. In a large bowl, stir together mayo, basil, scallions and zest. Slide in shrimp; mix gently with a soft spatula. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

If you like, warm buns in a 250-degree oven for 5 minutes. Open buns, fill with shrimp salad. Close and munch.