I have a new favorite secret ingredient, although, it’s not really a secret. Well, not entirely, anyway.
Frozen shrimp – the secret is the frozen part.
On a whim, cruising up and down the frozen food aisles at Sam’s a few weeks ago, in the usual desperate search to find something quick and easy to keep in the freezer for last-minute dinners, I bought a bag of medium frozen shrimp. Since then, I’ve purchased (and used) three more bags.
Those little guys are magic. No, they’re not fresh off the Louisiana docks, but they’re close enough to do the trick if you’re living (and cooking) far from the warm waters of the Gulf.
The beauty of the shrimp is that it’s peeled, with the tail intact, and already perfectly cooked. It’s quickly and easily defrosted by running under cold water in a colander for five minutes. At that point, the sky is the limit. Enjoy your shrimp!
I’ve added it to gumbo. I’ve paired it with lobster, resulting in phenomenal seafood enchiladas. It’s ideal for pasta, and probably my favorite use for it. I put together a delicious, spur of the moment, capellini dish made with scallops, goat cheese, basil, tomato and, my new best friends, the frozen shrimp.
It’s quick, easy, and so versatile, and what more can one ask for when cooking for a family during the chaos of mid-week mayhem? Of course fresh is best, especially with seafood, but that’s not always possible. And as a girl who used to go down to the boats with my dad in Rockport, Texas to load up on fresh Gulf shrimp, I’d never have believed it was possible to find a substitute.
I haven’t thrown my thawed-out shrimp on the outdoor grill, and to be honest, I probably won’t. In some instances, there’s just no substitute for the real thing. But as far as a quick go-to ingredient for salads, pastas, or gumbos, give it a shot. I think you’ll be surprised.
My little experiment of cooking with frozen shrimp has turned into an unexpected adventure. And so far, my secret ingredient remains just that – a secret … albeit, a delicious one.