Island Time

Aloha fellow foodies! You will be dancing a hula over my riff on Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp inspired by the garlic shrimp served from food trucks along Oahu’s North Shore. This savory shrimp dish, found in Fine Cooking by Dabney Gough, is traditionally paired with “two scoops rice,” as they say on the island. But I had other plans…

The recipe sounded appealing and was based on a classic foundation of shrimp, garlic and butter, but was a bit one-dimensional and lacked some pizzaz. So I started thinking of how I could embellish the dish with more color and vegetables. In other words, create a colorful, edible, work of art.


And what’s more Hawaiian than pineapple? It adds a slight sweet note, a pop of bright yellow, and an added texture. In another burst of ingenuity, I decided to incorporate a large ripe tomato and the remainder of a jar of some gorgeous orange-colored peppadew peppers, which are thin-skinned. (As a substitute, you could also use an orange bell pepper but it would need to be cooked down a bit.) With sliced scallion greens (leftover from the rice pilaf) as garnish, the meal now sang with color and taste!

Admittedly, Russ was hesitant of my new creation, but once he dug in, he was duly impressed. Use your own creativity and customize the ingredients to suit your personal preferences.

Our simple side dish of Lemony Scallion Rice Pilaf was a perfect accompaniment for the Hawaiian shrimp concoction. It’s a bit more involved than simply steaming rice, but it is so worth it. If short on time, it’s not a crime however to ladle the shrimp over plain rice.



  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (we used gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. extra-jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup peppadew peppers, cut  into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2″ large dice
  • 3 Tbs. grapeseed or canola oil
  • 8 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 4 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)

IMG_2585Make sure to prep everything to the right size before starting to cook.


  • In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, paprika, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Lightly dredge the shrimp in the mixture, shaking off the excess; set aside.
  • Heat a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve the garlic, leaving the oil in the pan.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high and add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, then flip and cook until nearly opaque in the center, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Add the sake and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, flipping the shrimp once, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and the reserved garlic, and cook, swirling the pan, until the sauce is emulsified.
  • Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, microwave pepper, tomato, and pineapple chunks on high for one minute. Stir into pan with shrimp, cover and let sit for about 60 seconds to meld the flavors.
  • Add the cilantro and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and serve over lemony rice pilaf.

Lemony Rice Pilaf with Scallions


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 12 scallions, thinly sliced, whites kept separate from greens
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1-3/4 cups lower-salt chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  • Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and simmer to reduce by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it begins to crackle, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, and 1 tsp. salt; bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the scallion greens and lemon juice into the rice with a fork and serve.

Almost makes one want to don a hula skirt and toss on a lei…


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