The love affair begins with the dressing, which is the key to adding unforgettable flavor. Just like a romance, it is sweet, spicy, tangy—with a jolt of garlic thrown in. Although I had to laugh at the notion that this Honey Garlic Shrimp, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Salad recipe from Half-Baked Harvest was supposed to feed six. Including daughter Julia who was in for a visit, the three of us polished it off entirely—yes, it was THAT good!
While there is not much cooking, you do need to char the ears of corn, crisp the bacon and sear the shrimp. Afterward, it comes together in minutes. Honey garlic seared shrimp cooked together with the bacon drippings is then tossed up in a fresh salad of romaine, grilled corn, salty feta, and creamy avocado. The herby dressing is so deliciously flavorful and pulls it altogether. You will be pining for more 💜…
To simplify things on dinner night, pre-prep by making the crispy bacon pieces and charred corn ahead of time, let cool, and store until ready to use.
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (don’t buy the pre-crumbled variety)
To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
In another bowl, toss the shrimp with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan. Roughly chop when cooled.
Add the shrimp to the hot bacon fat and cook on both sides until seared, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the heat. You will need to do this in two batches.
To make the salad, combine the greens, corn, and tomatoes in a salad bowl and toss with a little dressing. Add the shrimp, bacon, and avocados. Spoon the dressing overtop. Top with feta. Season with freshly cracked pepper and salt. Serve warm or cold.
In this Mediterranean recipe, you will coax orzo pasta to a rich, creamy texture, as if making risotto. A fragrant broth* of brandy, aromatic vegetables and shrimp shells is the cooking liquid for the orzo, infusing the dish with richness and subtle sweetness.
The shrimp themselves are added only after the orzo is al dente so they remain plump and tender. This adaptation from Milk Street takes a simple approach to the cooking with fewer ingredients than the Greek original, but retains the delicious, bracing flavors.
Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit; it’s added at the very end of cooking to accentuate the licorice notes of the fennel seed. Milk Street suggests that you don’t choose large zucchini for this recipe. Look for small to medium squash (ones that weigh 6 to 8 ounces each), as they have fewer seeds to remove. Well our supermarket didn’t have any smaller ones so we got a large zucchini before reading this tip, and it worked out fine.
To seed the zucchini, use a small spoon to scrape along the center of each half. Also, if making the shrimp broth, when simmering, don’t allow it to boil or simmer vigorously or the liquid will evaporate too quickly and the finished volume will be too slight.
*Since we already had homemade shellfish stock on hand, there was no need to make the broth and thus omitted the red bell pepper, celery and onion, and started at Step 5 with seasoning the shrimp. We also used frozen shrimp without shells since we weren’t making broth. These two things saved a large amount of time in prepping and cooking. We did however add the brandy to our homemade stock and included the bay leaves in the cooking process.
1 lb. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed) and deveined, shells reserved
3 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup brandy
1 cup orzo
2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb. total), halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1 lb. ripe plum or cocktail tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon ouzo
1½ tsp. grated lemon zest
½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped
In a large pot over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring just once or twice, until bright pink and dry, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the celery, bell pepper, onion, bay and ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to release moisture, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the brandy and scrape up any browned bits. Add 4 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Cool for about 10 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium bowl; press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible (discard the solids). You should have about 3 cups strained broth.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the orzo and stir to coat.
Add the zucchini, tomatoes, fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1½ cups shrimp broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 6 minutes; reduce the heat as the mixture thickens.
Add another 1 cup broth and cook, stirring vigorously and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the orzo is tender and the consistency is slightly soupy, 3 to 6 minutes.
Add the shrimp and another ¼ cup broth, then cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the bay, then stir in the ouzo and lemon zest. If desired, thin the consistency by stirring in additional broth, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the mint.
Originating in Thailand, this soup is a hot and sour bowlful of local ingredients like Thai chili peppers and lemongrass. These are available in Asian markets, but there are swaps that are easier to find in a pinch, if needed. We jokingly called it “Tom Oh-Yum” due to the fact it was St. Patty’s Day when we made it.
This soup usually begins with simmering shrimp shells to make the stock. For a shortcut, simmer lemongrass and galangal with boxed seafood stock; OR use your own homemade shellfish stock, like we did.
Saganaki is a traditional Greek dish with sweet, briny shrimp covered with a garlic- and herb-accented tomato sauce, and topped with crumbles of creamy, salty feta cheese. This version hails from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.”
This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. The base for the sauce is provided by canned diced tomatoes along with sautéed onions and garlic. Dry white wine adds acidity, and ouzo brings welcome complexity with its slightly sweet anise flavor.
*Since ouzo is not in everyone’s liquor cabinet (it wasn’t in ours—but is now), here are two alternatives: Pernod—Though slightly sweeter than ouzo, this French anise-flavored liqueur is the next best thing. Or use a combo of Vodka + Anise Seed, with one tablespoon of vodka plus 1/8 teaspoon of anise seed to equal 1 tablespoon of ouzo.
Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.
1 ½ lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. ouzo (*see note above)
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 tsp.)
1 tsp. grated zest from 1 lemon
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill leaves
Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer.
Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer.
Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Basil is a lovely dish that becomes even more flavorful if you use your own homemade shellfish stock. Don’t fret however if you don’t have any, you can always create a flavorful broth for simmering the risotto by steeping the shrimp shells and strips of lemon zest in water, as suggested in the directions below.
Another option, bring two 8-ounce bottles clam juice, 3 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt and the zest strips to a simmer in the saucepan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes to infuse, then strain as directed.
Milk Street’s version of the Italian risotto di limone is finished with an egg yolk and cream that enrich a lush, velvety risotto brightened with lemon zest and juice. For citrus notes that register at every level, stir in bright, puckery lemon juice and floral, fragrant grated zest just before serving.
Our notes: We increased the amount of shrimp from 12 ounces to 1 pound, and used a large yellow onion instead of a small one. It’s up to you how much shrimp and the size of the onion to incorporate. You might even consider using only 4 cups of liquid as opposed to 5, because it was still a bit too soupy for our liking — although the next day, the leftovers had thickened.
Don’t uncover the pot for at least 5 minutes after adding the shrimp. Lifting the lid releases some of the residual heat that’s needed to cook the shrimp.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 1 of the lemons in long, wide strips; try to remove only the colored portion of the peel, not the bitter white pith just underneath. Using a rasp-style grater, grate the zest from the remaining lemon; set aside separately. Halve the lemons and squeeze ¼ cup juice; set the juice aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium, heat 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring constantly, until pink, 1 to 2 minutes. (If you are using your own homemade shellfish stock, you can omit this step.)
Add 5 cups water (or your own shellfish stock), the zest strips and 1 teaspoon salt, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Pour the broth through a strainer set over a medium bowl; rinse out the pan. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard. Return the broth to the pan, cover and set over low to keep warm.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
Add 3 cups of the hot broth and cook, stirring often and briskly, until a spoon drawn through the mixture leaves a trail, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the remaining broth and cook, stirring, until the rice is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the lemon juice, egg yolk, cream, basil, and the grated zest. The risotto should be loose but not soupy. Taste and season with salt. Serve drizzled with additional oil.
When preparing our weekly menus, we try to be as diverse as possible concerning the main entrée. And we certainly are suckers for trying new dishes or twists to an old favorite. Variety is the spice of life, right? We need a little variation during the extended periods of lockdown when we are all so weary of the challenges 2020 has thrown our way.
After seeing this Shrimp Risotto with Tomatoes and Basil recipe in our latest Milk Street magazine, it quickly prompted us to add shrimp to the grocery list. Classic risotto-cooking technique calls for adding hot broth in several additions to the rice as it cooks, as well as for constant stirring. This simplified method from Milk Street adds the liquid in just two batches with frequent but vigorous stirring which coaxes the starch from the grains, yielding a rich, velvety risotto with minimal effort.
The starchy, creamy consistency of carnaroli (or Arborio) rice is a perfect backdrop for the briny-sweet flavor of plump, perfectly cooked shrimp; juicy tomatoes; and fresh, fragrant basil.
Don’t forget to cover the pot after adding the shrimp; this traps heat in the pot so that the shrimp gently cook through. Ours took 8 minutes to become fully opaque. And just to note, we increased the quantity from 12 ounces to a full pound. That seemed more reasonable for 4 servings as a main course.
If you happen to have homemade shellfish stock on hand, use that in place of, or in addition to, the clam juice.
1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
In a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the clam juice and 2 cups water. Cover and microwave on high until hot, about 4 minutes; set aside, covered. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, tomatoes and garlic, then cook, stirring, until the grains are translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost dry, about 4 minutes.
Add 3 cups of the hot liquid and cook, stirring often and briskly, until a spoon drawn through the mixture leaves a trail, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the remaining hot liquid and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. The risotto should be loose but not soupy; if needed, stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve the proper consistency.
Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the lemon zest and juice and all but 2 tablespoons of the basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with the remaining basil.
This recipe from Milk Street is an adaptation of one from “More Mexican Everyday” by Rick Bayless. Adding the shrimp at the end, after the rice has steamed, and allowing them to cook gently with residual heat ensures they are plump and tender and not overdone. Then layer in herbal notes by simmering minced cilantro stems with the rice, and folding in chopped cilantro leaves just before serving.
The entire bunch of cilantro goes into this one pot meal, so you’d better be committed. We happen to love the herb, but I know several folks who think it tastes like soap and/or have an issue digesting it. Parsley could be an option, but the flavor profile will be altogether different.
When looking at the ingredients, I thought why not use our homemade shellfish stock instead of chicken broth? Makes more sense when the star protein is shrimp. And speaking of the liquid component, do yourself a huge favor and read the amount necessary shown on the package of long grain rice that you are using.
The original recipe said to use two cups and that’s initially what we did. We checked the rice doneness after 15 minutes, again after 20 minutes and a final time at 25 minutes and the rice was STILL not done. Finally I checked the package which says to use 3 cups liquid per 1 1/2 cups rice, duh!
We had to remove the shrimp to a plate and cover with foil. Measure another cup of stock, heat it in the microwave, pour it back into the pan, cover and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Then once again, remove the pan from the heat, add the shrimp back to the mixture, cover and let sit for a couple minutes more before adding the cilantro.
Just sayin’, read your rice package for the proper amount of liquid and save your self the headache… Then enjoy the feast, it was fabulous and the shrimp were tender and succulent.
Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper; set aside at room temperature.
In a large saucepan over medium, cook the oil and garlic, stirring often, until the garlic is just barely golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the chipotle chilies, cilantro stems, rice and raisins, then add the broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover and reduce to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Uncover the pan and scatter the shrimp evenly over the rice. Re-cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Gently fluff the rice with a fork, folding in the shrimp. Re-cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro leaves, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
*TIPS: Read your rice package label for the correct amount of liquid for 1 1/2 cups. Don’t lift the lid to peek at the shrimp after they’ve been added to the pan, except to stir them into the rice. Uncovering releases the residual heat needed for gently cooking the shrimp.
More fun than the American classic, the Mexican take on the dish has a whole lot more personality, so says Cook’s Illustrated. Cóctel de camarón offers an incredible mix of flavors and textures: plump, tender poached shrimp; crisp bites of raw onion and cucumber; and cool, creamy avocado are all coated in a tangy, spicy-sweet tomato sauce.
“Eaten ice‑cold with a spoon and saltines, it’s like a festive, shrimp‑packed Bloody Mary or gazpacho.”
V8’s blend of tomato and vegetable juices and lack of added sweeteners give the dish a welcome savory balance. To round out the dish, cut a ripe avocado and half an English cucumber into bite-size chunks. For savory crunch, add finely chopped red onion to the mix. Finally, a smattering of chopped cilantro contributes freshness.
For a fun presentation, I served the cocktail in margarita glasses accompanied by a long handled spoon and a basket of nacho chips. Son David and girlfriend Vikki joined us for dinner that evening and absolutely loved their appetizers. They scarfed it down in no time!
If you don’t have margarita glasses, another serving option would be a martini glass. In the end, no matter what you serve the shrimp cocktails in, your guests will gobble them up!
1 ¼ lbs. large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
¼ tsp. table salt, plus salt for cooking shrimp
1 cup V8 juice, chilled
½ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp. lime juice (2 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
2 tsp. hot sauce, plus extra for serving
½ English cucumber, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Saltines (or tortilla chips or thick-cut potato chips)
Bring 3 cups water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Stir in shrimp and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and let stand off heat until shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes, shaking saucepan halfway through.
Fill large bowl halfway with ice and water. Transfer shrimp to ice bath and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Once cool, cut each shrimp crosswise into 3 pieces (or more if using larger shrimp).
Combine V8 juice, ketchup, lime juice, hot sauce, and salt in medium bowl.
Add cucumber, onion, and shrimp and stir until evenly coated. Stir in avocado and cilantro.
Portion cocktail into individual bowls or glasses and serve immediately, passing saltines (or chips), lime wedges, and extra hot sauce separately.
Cambodia is famous for its Kampot pepper—here a generous measure of ground black pepper plus a fresh chili are used to add multilayered spiciness to the savory-sweet dressing. The salad is best with a combination of cilantro, mint and basil—which we used—but it’s still delicious made with only one herb.
This noodle salad is a version of one that Milk Street staff tasted in Cambodia. Vegetables, herbs and chopped peanuts add tons of color and texture to tender rice vermicelli noodles. And if you like, omit the shrimp altogether or substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.
Don’t bypass the step of rinsing the noodles. It prevents them from sticking together and overcooking. It also cools them down quickly for the salad. If your noodles are long, use scissors to cut them down to a manageable size.
The Hubs compared this salad to an inside-out Asian spring vegetable roll. It was absolutely delicious both as a dinner, and for lunches the next day. It would make a welcome option for a hot, humid summer’s eve when the last thing you want to do is cook.
Cambodian-Style Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp, Cucumber and Herbs
You know we love all-things-Spanish, so it went without saying that when we saw this Spanish Shrimp and Chickpea Stew recipe from Milk Street, we were immediately intrigued. It seems at Palacio Carvajal Girón, in the Extremadura region of Spain, Milk Street staff tasted a delicious shellfish and chickpea stew that was rich and redolent with locally produced smoked paprika. Requiring both a ham- and langoustine-infused broth and made with dried chickpeas, the dish was a time- and labor-intensive preparation.
Their much-simplified version captures the essence of the stew in just a fraction of the time. It uses canned chickpeas for convenience, and the broth gets flavor from bottled clam juice and the viscous liquid from the chickpeas. A combination of Spanish smoked paprika and standard sweet paprika gives the stew deep color and earthy complexity without overwhelming the shrimp.
Don’t forget to reserve ½ cup of the liquid before draining the can of chickpeas. The liquid adds both body and flavor to the broth. When peeling the shrimp, don’t remove the tails because they also lend flavor to the broth. But do remove the tails when halving the seared shrimp so that the pieces are easier to eat in the finished stew. In all honesty, you can skip this step if you don’t mind serving the shrimp whole with tails intact.
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 Lb. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1 Medium leek, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, rinsed and dried
4 Medium garlic cloves, minced
15½ Oz. can chickpeas, ½ cup liquid reserved, drained
8 Oz. bottle clam juice
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve
In a medium bowl, stir together both paprikas and ¾ teaspoon pepper; measure 2 tablespoons into a small bowl and set aside. Add the shrimp to the paprika mixture in the medium bowl and toss to coat; set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp in an even layer; reserve the bowl. Cook without stirring until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, return the shrimp to the bowl. In the same pot over medium, melt the butter.
Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and the reserved paprika mixture, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the chickpeas, the reserved chickpea liquid and the clam juice. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Meanwhile, remove the tails from the shrimp and cut each in half crosswise. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shrimp along with accumulated juices.
Cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley and drizzled with additional oil.