GARLIC-TOMATO GRILLED SHRIMP

GARLIC-TOMATO GRILLED SHRIMP
Adapted from The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner, 1999). Copyright 1999 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Serves 4 to 5

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 per pound), shelled and deveined, with tails left intact
2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
4 cups ice water
3 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted dry
3 large cloves garlic
3 tightly packed tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tightly packed tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges

1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the 2 tablespoons salt and the ice water. Refrigerate 20 minutes, but no more. Meanwhile, mince together the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and coriander. Turn into a medium bowl and stir in the hot pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

2. Drain, rinse, and pat the shrimp dry. Toss them with the tomato mixture. Keep cold.

3. Cook the shrimp on a lightly oiled, medium-hot grill, sprinkling with salt and pepper, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Alternatively, film a large skillet or griddle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Sauté the shrimp, sprinkling with salt and pepper, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Pile all the seasonings atop the shrimp after you turn them.

4. Turn the shrimp onto a serving platter, along with the seasonings. Serve hot or warm, with the lime wedges. Squeeze a little lime over the shrimp just before eating.

LYNNE'S TIPS
• The dark so-called vein of a shrimp is its intestines and can give an "off" or bitter taste if not removed. With a sharp paring knife, make a shallow cut along the back of the peeled shrimp and pull out the vein with the tip of the knife. Rinse and pat dry.

• Nearly all shrimp has been frozen before it reaches the seafood case at the supermarket. If properly handled and turnover is rapid, previously frozen shrimp is fine. Avoid any with dry spots, a sign a freezer burn.

• Check for black spots (unless you're buying black tiger shrimp) and yellowed or gritty shells. Black spots point to spoilage, while yellowed or gritty shells suggest the shrimp may have been bleached to remove black spots. The mere thought of it is demoralizing. Find another market where freshness and quality are important.

• Shrimp are labeled and priced according to how many make a pound. Huge ones are U-8, meaning under 8 per pound (and the price will take your breath away), while U-60's are quite small. Select from the 20- to 30-per-pound range and you'll still get a decent size for reasonable money.

• As with all seafood, keep shrimp refrigerated and cook within a day or so.

THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE
Fresh chives are everywhere now. Use them generously in tuna fish, green salads, in dressings, salsa and soups. For a fast pasta supper, toss together hot pasta, olive oil, lots of chives, fresh basil and halved grape tomatoes. Add several twists of black pepper to finish.