Food Daily Dish

Easy dinner recipes: Shrimp three ways and 100 other ideas

Shrimp may be America's favorite shellfish. And what's not to love? Shrimp cook up quickly, and, cooked just right, are plump and flavorful. Not to mention they work so well in a variety of dishes.

Corn and shrimp make for a great pairing in a simple but richly flavored Cajun-spiced chowder. The whole dish comes together in less than an hour.

And dinner doesn't get much simpler than sizzling shrimp with a touch of garlic and a sprinkling of hot pepper, in less than half an hour. That's plenty of time to slice a baguette (to soak up all those amazing juices) and pour a couple of glasses of wine before you settle in for the evening.

RECIPES: 101 dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Rice salad takes a colorful turn with cooked small shrimp, fresh arugula, tomatoes, minced red onion and toasted pine nuts. The whole dish comes together in about 45 minutes.

You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

HUMPHREY'S CAJUN SHRIMP AND CORN CHOWDER

Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from Humphrey's Restaurant in San Diego. Cajun and Creole spice blends can be found in the prepackaged spice sections of most supermarkets.

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Cajun or Creole spice or seasoning, divided, more to taste

2 (12-ounce) boxes frozen corn

2 cups chicken stock, more as needed

1 cup bay shrimp

1 cup heavy cream, more to taste

Chopped parsley, garnish

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in 1 tablespoon Cajun spice, corn and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the corn is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

3. While the soup is cooking, sauté the shrimp. Season the shrimp with the remaining Cajun spice. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat, melt the remaining butter and quickly sauté the shrimp until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and move the shrimp to a bowl. Set aside in a warm place.

4. Stir the heavy cream into the soup and heat to a gentle simmer. Cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the soup slightly.

5. Remove from heat and purée the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning as needed and stir in additional cream if desired. Stir in the cooked shrimp.

6. Serve the soup garnished with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Each of 6 servings: 323 calories; 10 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 87 mg. cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 476 mg. sodium.

SIZZLING SHRIMP WITH GARLIC AND HOT PEPPER

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" by Paula Wolfert. She recommends using an 11- or 12-inch Spanish cazuela or straight-sided Flameware skillet. She also recommends using a heat diffuser for slow, steady cooking (especially if using an electric or ceramic stove top). Aleppo pepper can generally be found in Middle Eastern markets and cooking stores, as well as online. Marash pepper can be found at select Middle Eastern markets and online.

1 pound peeled small (about 60) or medium-large deveined (24 to 30) shrimp

1 scant cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon mildly hot dried red pepper such as Aleppo or Marash

2 tablespoons hot water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon sweet pimenton de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

4 to 6 slices chewy country bread

1. Rinse the shrimp and wipe dry with paper towels. Leave them at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes so they are not ice-cold when they hit the pan.

2. Combine the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper in the cazuela. Set it over medium-low heat and warm the pan slowly, gradually raising the heat to medium or medium-high until the oil is hot. Continue to cook until the garlic sizzles and just turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Immediately add all the shrimp and cook until they are firm and curled, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on their size.

4. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons hot water and pinches of sea salt and pimenton. Serve at once right from the pot with the bread for soaking up the delicious oily sauce.

Each of 6 servings: 415 calories; 15 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 33 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 112 mg. cholesterol; 0 sugar; 470 mg. sodium. 

RICE SALAD WITH SHRIMP AND ARUGULA

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

2 cups medium-grain rice, such as Arborio

Salt

3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

1/2 pound cooked small shrimp (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 cup diced tomato

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups torn arugula, loosely packed

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice and return the water to a boil; reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Cook until the rice is tender, 15 minutes. Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse quickly in cool running water. Line a large mixing bowl with a tea towel and empty the rice into it. Fold the tea towel over the top of the rice and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.

2. When the rice has cooled slightly, add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and salt to taste, stirring lightly with a fork to avoid crushing the tender rice grains. (The rice can be prepared to this point a day ahead and refrigerated in a tightly covered container. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3. When almost ready to serve, combine the shrimp, red onion and tomato in a medium bowl and season with red wine vinegar and one-fourth teaspoon salt, or to taste.

4. Add the shrimp mixture to the rice along with the arugula and pine nuts. Stir to combine well, taste and add more salt or lemon juice if necessary. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 30 minutes in advance.)

5. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.

Each of 8 servings: 300 calories; 10 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 139 mg. sodium.

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