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I was talking to someone at a party last week and she told me she’s afraid to cook shrimp—but she wants to cook shrimp. Why are you so afraid, I asked. She looked at me like I was nuts: Because what if you over-cook them? Or under-cook them, She said. She didn’t grow up cooking shrimp and the idea of trying to figure out whether they were cooked-enough or too-cooked in a pan was stressing her out. But wait! I said. There are stews, chowders, soups, boils—ways to cook shrimp that are not in a saute pan on a stove. She was so surprised. Are you?
Either which way, here are some very big-flavor, no-stress shrimp recipes, for lent or all year round.
Goan Style Shrimp Curry
Southern, coastal India has a region called Goa that’s world-famous for great seafood, and this shrimp curry is just so good, spicy and funky in a major way. It’s worth a trip to an Indian market for fresh curry leaves, and will seriously bust any cabin fever boredom you’ve got going this winter.
Maine Shrimp Chowder
Most of the recipes here are appropriate for Lent, but not this one—it’s full of bacon and cream and it’s full on indulgent. But it’s so good, and if you love clam chowder and were wondering what’s a delightful variation you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
Harold Dieterle’s Thai Shrimp and Coconut Soup
Thai shrimp and coconut soup is one of my all time hall of fame recipes—so creamy, so sour! Harold Dieterle won the very first season of Top Chef, and had a string of highly regarded New York City restaurants including the really great Kin Shop, a Thai spot with incredible flavors—like the ones in this soup!
Alton Brown’s Genius Shrimp Gumbo
What makes Alton Brown’s shrimp gumbo genius is that he bakes his roux – he doesn’t stand there stirring and stirring. Also, please note that this recipe also just tips the shrimp in to the already cooked food that’s off the fire—that’s the way to get tender shrimp.
Classic Shrimp Boil
What I love about this classic Southern Shrimp Boil recipe is how no-nonsense the shrimp-cooking part is. Basically, you cook everything, then throw the shrimp in and put the lid on. You can use Zatarain’s or Old Bay, put some Grain Belt on ice, and that’s a really good weekend night.