Easy dinner recipes: Simple dinner ideas for shrimp lovers

Simple dinner ideas for shrimp lovers

Love shrimp? If you can't get enough of America's favorite shellfish, check out these tempting recipe ideas:

Peel 'n' eat shrimp: If you don't mind getting your hands dirty at dinner, you can't go wrong with the peel 'n' eat shrimp recipe David Lentz of the Hungry Cat shared with us a few years back -- large Mexican white shrimp steamed in a spicy beer reduction. They take an hour or two to marinate, so you'll need to plan ahead, but once you get the dish cooking it comes together in about a half hour, plenty of time for you to lay out the newspaper over the table and ready a stack of napkins!

Capellini al gamberetti: Dinner doesn't get much easier than this pasta dish. Fresh and bright with large shrimp, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, Capellini al gamberetti, a pasta dish from Napoli restaurant in Loma Linda, comes together -- start to finish -- in less than 30 minutes.

Grilled shrimp skewers with charmoula: Or perhaps you want to take advantage of the weather and cook outdoors this evening? Whip up a quick batch of charmoula (a North African spice blend combining bright fresh flavors including lemon, garlic, ginger, cilantro, paprika and a little olive oil), then marinate some jumbo shrimp to infuse the flavor (the recipe calls for a couple hours marinating time, but the flavor infuses in as little as 30 minutes). Skewer the shrimp and grill them a couple minutes on each side, and you're good to go. Serve the rest of the charmoula tableside if you want to add a little extra flavor. You can find the recipe below.

CHARMOULATotal time: 20 minutes | Makes scant 1 cup

Note: Store the charmoula for up to 1 week, refrigerated, in an airtight jar or plastic bag.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika
Pinch cayenne powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
Pinch saffron
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Using a mortar and pestle, or in the bowl of a food processor, grind the garlic and ginger to a paste. Add the chopped parsley, cilantro and lemon zest and coarsely mash. Stir in the lemon juice. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, cumin, bay leaf and saffron and grind to incorporate.

2. Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending to form an emulsion, then stir in the salt. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, then cover and refrigerate at least 1 day before using.

Each tablespoon: 64 calories; 0 protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 38 mg. sodium.GRILLED SHRIMP SKEWERS WITH CHARMOULATotal time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time | Serves 2 to 4

Note: This recipe calls for bamboo skewers.

1 pound cleaned, tail-on jumbo shrimp (12 to 16)
Charmoula (See related recipe), divided
1 large lemon, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
Oil for the grill

1. Combine the shrimp and one-third cup charmoula in a large nonreactive bowl or resealable plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Ten minutes before removing the shrimp from the refrigerator, soak the bamboo skewers in water to prevent the wood from burning.

2. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread with the lemon slices onto the prepared bamboo skewers.

3. Heat the grill over medium-high heat. When the grill is hot, oil the rack and place the skewers on top. Grill the skewers until the shrimp are puffy, pink and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately with the remaining charmoula sauce.

Each of 4 servings: 172 calories; 18 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 168 mg. cholesterol; 218 mg. sodium.

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