Red Curry Shrimp with Pineapple
Thai Red Curry Shrimp with Pineapple
Thai stick it to you: I can’t remember the first time I had really good Thai food. But I do remember I was very intrigued with the flavors. I became especially fond of the curries. I like spicy food and the heat in curry is my favorite kind of heat. Curry heat is kind of heat that shows up at the end of a bite, not the front. Some spicy food is so hot it burns my lips and that ruins it for me. I can’t get past the pain to get to the flavors. This may not be a great comparison but some wines have such a long finish they just deliver layer after layer of flavors long after the sip is down the hatch. That’s true for me with good curry. Okay, I like chicken wings that are really hot just so I can extinguish them in bleu cheese dressing. But, I like my curries with slow, backdoor heat.
Use your coconut: Coconut oil and coconut milk give this dish it’s smooth, rich, and off sweet flavors. Just recently the heath benefits of virgin organic coconut oil have become recognized. Coconut oil is healthy oil with a high flash point and great flavor. Regular coconut milk is a must for this dish. Skip the” light” in favor of full rich flavor and healthy fat. Besides being wonderfully tasty, this is a pretty dish. The pink shrimp and sauce with a dash of yellow from the pineapple and green from the basil and cilantro look like a decorator’s wheel.
Cut and paste: Curry paste comes in all heat ranges. I like a medium hot as a base so I can add enough paste to get the great curry flavor. If the paste is too hot I find I back away from adding enough to bring out the curry flavor. We can always raise the heat with other spices so use the paste first for curry flavor and next for heat. The best way is to test some brands. I’ve always bought my paste pre made but one day I’ll try to make it on my own. Most supermarkets carry curry paste in the Asian section but if you can find a Thai market better yet. They may have many to taste so you can find your favorite. This dish is made with red curry but I like green and Panang as well.
Red badge of Curry: I just wanted to write that down so I did. What’s up with the pineapple? I normally don’t make red curry with pineapple or mango but it’s a great combo. If the curry is hot the sweet fruit offers a cooling bite and a great contrast in the dish. I don’t cook the pineapple but add just before serving. I also put it as a “condiment” on the table so some can add if they like.
Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Pineapple
- 2 lbs. of raw peeled shrimp, 30-35 per lb size
- 3 Tablespoons of virgin organic coconut oil divided
- 2-14 oz. cans of whole unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons medium hot red curry paste
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- Dash of sea salt
- 4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 4 Thai basil sprigs (tops)
In a 12” heavy skillet heat ½ the coconut oil on medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink. Set aside and drain the remaining liquid out of the skillet. Add 1 Tablespoon of the remaining coconut oil and add the onions cooking on medium. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the garlic and the red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes more until the peppers start to soften but not mushy. Drain and set aside. Add the remaining coconut oil and curry paste to the skillet cooking for a minute until the paste becomes fragrant. Add the coconut milk (it may have separated in the can so be sure to get the thick stuff out) ginger, fish sauce and stir with a whisk, being sure to break up the paste and combining the ingredients well. Simmer until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the honey to get a slight sweet taste. Then add the cayenne pepper to perfect the heat. After the sauce has reduced by 1/3 add the shrimp, peppers and onions back to the skillet and heat through (about 1-2 minutes). Then add ½ the cilantro, stir. Serve in a bowl or over Jasmine rice. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and basil. Salt to taste.
Tips: If you don’t like to serve the curry over rice it looks nice family style served with rice on the side. I will cook my jasmine rice in light coconut rice for extra coconut flavor. It’s a little softer texture and can be a side dish with mango.
SHRIMP, AVACADO AND GRAPEFRUIT SALAD
This is one of my favorite summer salads. The crunchiness of the celery and the sweet/tart grapefruit offer a wonderful contrast of flavors and textures. Like peanut butter and jelly, avocado and shrimp go great together. Using the fruit juice in the vinaigrette marries the flavors even more. And if you like wine, the “grapefruitiness” of a Sauvignon Blanc matches wonderfully. Split this recipe between 2 for a full meal or 4 for a first course. Either way you’ll have happy people.
Shrimp, avocado and grapefruit salad
For the salad
- 1 lb of raw, peeled, shrimp. 21-25 count.
- 2 ruby grapefruit peeled and halved
- 1 head butter lettuce or green leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- ½ red or yellow onion, shaved
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 ripe Haas avocado
For the dressing
- 4 Tablespoons EVOO
- 1 Tablespoon champagne or while balsamic vinegar
- Juice from ½ grapefruit
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the thawed shrimp 1-2 minutes. Rinse immediately and submerge in ice water. Set aside.
Peel both grapefruit and separate 1 grapefruit in half pole to pole. Squeeze ½ grapefruit and add juice to a mixing bowl. Combine the remaining dressing ingredients. Whisk and set aside,
Chop or tear the lettuce in bite size pieces, chop the celery, shave the onion and add to a salad bowl. Peel the remaining grapefruit halves. Remove the seeds, and as much as the pith and membrane as possible. Cut into small pieces. Cut the avocado in ½ and with a sharp knife, section into small pieces, removing with a spoon.
Drain the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl toss the shrimp with a few Tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss the salad with the dressing. On 4 plates (or 2 for dinner) divide the greens equally. Add the avocado, the grapefruit, and top with the shrimp. Serve immediately and salt and pepper to taste. Pour a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris and enjoy! A dry Rosé works well too.
Good wine choice
Tips: Add a chopped red bell pepper for color. Chill the salad plates and forks.
Ask a girl from New Orleans what she wants for dinner on Mother’s Day and the answer very well could be “Barbeque Shrimp”. In New Orleans, fresh shrimp are a staple. There are probably as many recipes for this dish as there are people in that great city… This dish in some form can be found on almost every restaurant menu. This one happens to be hers. However, these Barbeque shrimp are cooked in the oven not on the grill (as we think of barbeque in California). I like to serve them “Moscas style”, with vermicelli (thin spaghetti) and olive salad. The pan drippings with the chunks of cooked garlic cloves are out of this world. Toss them with the pasta (you can add a little fresh parmesan if you like) and get ready to feast. Have a pile of napkins on hand because your fingers will get oily from the delicious shrimp. I like the larger size shrimp so we can spend more time eating than peeling.
If you like it hotter, add more pepper flakes and cayenne. Or even a few dashes of Tabasco to the mix. Or, if you like it milder, cut back on the spice. It’s an easy recipe to make. You can’t really mess it up. Best tip: Don’t overcook the shrimp. They get tough if you cook them too long.
Gone fishing: I really like the service and the people at the Uptown Angler in New Orleans. If you are looking to book a salt trip for redfish or other species give these guys a call. They will point you and your rod in the right direction! www.uptownangler.com
- 2 lbs of shrimp heads removed shell on. 16-20 or 21-25 per lb size.
- 20 cloves of peeled garlic sliced in half, lengthwise
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- ½ cup of EVOO
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 325F. Thaw the shrimp if frozen and drain. Place the cloves of garlic in a small oven safe dish and cover with the ½ cup of EVOO. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the color of the garlic is light tan to tan. Be careful not to burn. While the garlic is roasting, in a bowl, combine the melted butter, crushed garlic, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. The bowl should be big enough to add and toss the shrimp. When the garlic is finished roasting, turn the oven up to 425F. Drain the garlic cloves in a strainer over the ingredients bowl and combine. Toss the shrimp in the bowl and combine coating the shrimp with the mixture. On a sheet pan spread out the shrimp and mixture from the bowl. Take the roasted garlic cloves and “dot” the shrimp evenly on the sheet pan. Roast approximately 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the sheet pan (carefully it’s hot) and drain the shrimp and liquid over a coarse strainer catching all the liquid in a bowl. Add these wonderful juices to your freshly cooked pasta and toss. Serve immediately with the shrimp and prepare to get your fingers oily! Serves 4 hungry shrimp lover!