Copyright 2006 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Serves 4 generously
This recipe has a favorite brining technique, which is worth filing away. Keep it for other seafood, and for poultry and meats. Spoon the shrimp over rice noodles and scatter with fresh basil and mint leaves.
1/2 cup salt (kosher or sea salt, not iodized)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup medium hot pure chile powder
2 quarts cold water
1 1/2 pounds large raw shrimp, in our out of their shells
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, thin sliced
3-inch piece new ginger root, peeled and cut into long, thin strips
3 whole scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1. Brine the shrimp 20 minutes by blending in a medium stainless or glass bowl the salt, sugar and chile in the water. Drop in the shrimp and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes, no more. Drain, shell if necessary, and pat dry.
2. Have everything cut and ready to cook. Drain the shrimp, peel off shells if necessary, and pat them dry. Heat a wok or 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over high. Once the pan is hot, swirl in the oil.
3. Immediately stir in the garlic, ginger, and scallion. Cook until fragrant (a few seconds), stirring all the time. Add the shrimp, sprinkling them with the sugar and black pepper. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until they are turning pink and are barely firm. Turn them into a serving bowl. Season to taste, and serve with rice or rice noodles.
Shrimp are sold by count — the number of shrimp in a pound. The larger the shrimp, the lower the count, and the higher the price. Large shrimp are those labeled 20-30 per pound.
Choose fresh ginger root that is firm with a thin shiny skin. Those that look dry or shriveled are past their prime.
To store fresh ginger root, blot away any surface moisture, wrap airtight and refrigerate for up to 10 days. For longer storage, peel the root, slice, wrap airtight and freeze. No need to thaw before using — just break off what you need and return the rest to the freezer.
Sprinkle coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves over each serving as a garnish.
THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE
A question we occasionally get in the mail has to do with the size of garlic cloves. When a recipe calls for a number of cloves, confusion arises. Is there a "standard" size? A guideline is this: "large" cloves would be about 2 inches by 1 to 1 1/2 inches; "medium" cloves about 1 inch by 1/2 to 3/4 inch; and "small" 1/2 inch by 1/4 to 1/2 inch.