The best use & reuse of accidentally-purchased shell-on shrimp

The use of the word “best” here comes with a caveat, namely, what I could think of without resorting to looking up a recipe, and just sorting through memories of dishes eaten and cookbooks and magazine read in the past.  The “accidentally-purchased” part comes from the fact that I was dead-tired, and snagged the wrong bag of frozen shrimp out of the freezer at work– I bought the jumbo shell-on, instead of the large shelled shrimp.

Still, I had a whole tub of pre-peeled garlic at home, and bless the inventor of that nifty device, not because I care about the smell of garlic but because peeling garlic is fussy and I always end up nicking myself.

Garlic + shrimp + a pantry like mine (here, Aggi shrimp bouillon, fino sherry, olive oil, generous amounts of fresh-ground black pepper, plus a big sprig of the rosemary growing out in the garden) equals Spanish-style shrimp in garlic sauce.   I used the fino sherry (this recipe uses an equalish amount of brandy) because I had it, but I could have used lemon, like this recipe.

Messy to peel?  Yes.  Delicious to lick off your fingers?  You bet.

To go with/alongside, because I don’t think the Spaniards go much in for corn, but when in New England in summer, it’s corn, corn, corn, corn, I did a simple saute of corn sliced off the cob, whole cherry tomatoes, sliced onion, lots of butter, a little bit of salt and pepper, and a large sprig of windowbox thyme, sauteed until warm and the tomatoes a little bit collapsed.

I had shrimp leftover.  (They were a pain to peel.  I won’t make the mistake of not reading the bag ever again.)  And for some recipe I’d made in some variation before, I had a half-bottle of mild(er) kimchi, which I dumped into a big bowl and chopped roughly with my mezzaluna. I’d bought a small red cabbage, so I chopped that into half and then into thin slices, peeled and chopped up the shrimp, beat three eggs, chopped a huge handful of chives from the garden (are we detecting a theme here?  my herbs are in luxurious growth, super-abundant, and I use them as such) and spooned in enough Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour mix to make it bind together but still be a little bit wet.

And then I fried the hell out of it in one big cake in my 12″ nonstick skillet, slid it onto a sheet pan, then, taking my life into my hands, used potholders to flip the whole thing over and fried the whole other side until it was brown.  I chopped purple basil from the garden and cut up some limes to squeeze over the top, and did add some sriracha and fish sauce to my serving, though it was plenty seasoned already.  (You could have added lime zest or ginger or sriracha to the pancake batter if you were so inclined.)  It was beautiful.

I had the kimchi around from a white cabbage/kimchi/scallion pancake not unlike this basic recipe and which I think I also used shrimp to proteinize… that I fried into small fritters, and if you’re afraid of burning yourself flipping el grando shrimp pancake, the little fritters are equally tasty, just keep the heat up to get that good brown crust, and use a spatter screen.

For a vegetable (what, two cups of cabbage isn’t enough?) I had garden-fresh green beans.  I steamed and cooled them, then dressed them while they were still warm with sesame oil and a sauce called Bone Suckin’ Mustard, sriracha, and a bit of soy sauce.  A strong yellow mustard (not dijon-style) with a bit of cider vinegar, some hot sauce, and a little sweetener (I’d use agave, probably) would stand in for the Bone Suckin’ Mustard– you want it to be on the zippy/sour side of sweet & sour & tangy, but you still want a little sweet to balance the chili sauce.  And then I dressed them with toasted sesame seeds.

Good thing I wasn’t paying attention when I bought those shrimp.


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