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Quick as a Shrimp

TIMES FOOD STYLIST

Fresh shrimp is a popular shellfish--it’s also one of the fastest to prepare. This is why so many people overcook shrimp, causing them to shrink and become tough. Shrimp are thoroughly cooked when they turn pink and are firm to the touch; this usually takes only 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side, depending on the size of the shrimp and the method of cooking.

To save time in the following recipe, cook the shrimp while the sage cream sauce is reducing. Once the sauce is ready, add the shrimp along with the mussels to the pan to warm. Adding the shrimp at the last minute just to heat through prevents overcooking. The smoked mussels give a rich flavor to this dish. If frozen mussels aren’t available, canned may be substituted.

Orzo makes an ideal accompaniment to this dish. It’s a small pasta that looks like rice and is prepared in much the same way, except that it cooks in half the time.

Roasted red peppers are available in either the deli section or the grocery section of most supermarkets. Served with the buffalo mozzarella, they make a great salad accompaniment.

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Focaccia is an Italian-style flat bread available in the bakery section of some markets. If unavailable, Boboli is a good substitute. Pop in the oven until hot.

Chocolate sorbet gives that sweet touch at the end of the dinner.

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Shrimp and Smoked Mussels in Sage Cream

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Orzo

Roasted red peppers and buffalo mozzarella

Focaccia

Chocolate sorbet

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SHRIMP AND SMOKED MUSSELS IN SAGE CREAM WITH ORZO

Staples

3 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic

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1/4 cup white wine

Shopping

1 bunch sage

1 (8-ounce) carton fish stock or 1 bottle clam juice

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1 pint whipping cream

12 fresh shrimp

1 (8-ounce) package frozen smoked mussels, or 1 (3.66-ounce) can smoked mussels

Optional Side-Dish Shopping

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1 box orzo

1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers

Buffalo mozzarella

1 focaccia

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1 carton chocolate sorbet

1. If using 1 (8-ounce) package frozen smoked mussels, thaw in microwave oven. Mince 2 cloves garlic.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 minced garlic to melted butter and saute lightly. Set aside.

3. For sauce, mince 1 tablespoon sage. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining clove minced garlic and sage. Saute until garlic is tender.

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4. Stir in 1/2 cup fish stock, 1/4 cup white wine and 1 1/4 cups whipping cream. Heat to simmer. Reduce sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

5. Grill or broil 12 shrimp while brushing with reserved garlic butter. Stir cooked shrimp and thawed or canned mussels into sauce. Simmer just until heated through. Serve over orzo.

Makes 4 servings.


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