This is topic Delicious (and fairly painless) in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
We haven't had one of these for awhile that I've seen.

Not too long ago I finished eating some really incredible food that I'd made. Here's the recipe:

Shrimp with Cilantro Pesto

First, make the pesto:
1 tsp whole white or black peppercorns
2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh cilantro roots or leaves & stems
2 TBSP coarsely chopped garlic

grind the pepper up in a spice grinder or in a mortar (or just use regular old pre-ground pepper)

In a mortar or food processor, mortar, or possibly a blender (blender didn't work for me, but your milage may vary), blend the three ingredients until they form a fairly smooth paste. I use a mortar for this, personally, but that's just because I don't have a food processor.

This will make just a little less than three TBSP of pesto. You may want to consider using a little less garlic, or a less potent garlic type--elephant garlic works pretty well because of its comparative mildness.

Anyway, the rest is pretty simple. The ingredients for the stirfry itself are:

3 or so TBSP of the pesto you just made
1/2 lb shrimp
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP fish sauce

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once it's hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, but not yet smoking, add the shrimp and stirfry for about a minute, until they begin to color on all sides. After the minute is up, add the pesto, and stirfry for another minute. Add the fish sauce and stirfry for another 15 seconds or so. Serve over rice. A little fresh cilantro torn up and stirred in adds a nice extra bit of cilantro flavor.

The only part of this recipe that is a pain, for me, is the shrimp. Since I'm not a big fan of eating feces I like to devein my shrimp, but it can be a bit tricky. Shrimp have two suspicious looking tubes that run the length of their bodies, one on the ventral and one on the dorsal side. Are both of these intestines, does anyone know? The one on the dorsal side, which is pretty painless to remove, looks like it's filled with crap, but the ventral one looks like it's probably filled with congealed blood. That could just be wishful thinking on my part, though, since the ventral one is a huge pain to remove. I suspect that there is a trick by which both can be easily removed though. Every now and then I'll be removing the shell, pinching at the tail and pulling up and off, and one or both of the suspicious tubes will come right out.

Anybody know anything about this? I'd love to find out that the ventral tube wasn't an intestine, or barring that that there was a simple way to remove it.
Posted by dkw (Member # 3264) on :
I used to work for a caterer, and we only took out the dorsal one. Which may mean that the ventral one is just a blood vessel, or may mean we were doing it wrong. But if you think cleaning shrimp is a pain, imagine having to clean 50lbs in one afternoon. Blech.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I shudder to think of it dkw! Granted, I was removing both suspicious bits, but it took me a good 40 minutes to do just a half pound. Of course, they're relatively small shimp, but still.

This is the third time I've deveined shrimp, though, and I have to say that my speed is improving. Implementing a systematic approach has cut my time by a little more than half.

There is a wide variety in pricing of shrimp; anybody know what the merits of the more expensive ones are? They're generally bigger, and the guy at the seafood counter claimed that that was the only difference, but I'm not sure that I believe him--he was the shifty type, you see. Probably prone to telling fish stories.

The Kroger's seafood counter: never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villany. Oh, and sea bass.

[ August 05, 2003, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: Noemon ]
Posted by ludosti (Member # 1772) on :
As far as I know, the pricing is indeed related to the size of the shrimp. The bigger the shrimp, the higher the price. They are divided up into different "counts" - ie. 36-40 count means that 36-40 of those particular shrimp will weigh about 1 pound.

I can't imagine the horrors of deviening millions of shrimp. I'm lazy and always buy the deveined ones.... [Taunt]
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Well, after deveining a half pound of fairly small shrimp, I can definitely say that I'd be willing to pay for bigger ones, just so that I didn't have to devein so many of them. I can just cut the huge ones up into bite sized pieces.

You know, I *thought* that I remembered that they sold deveined shrimp, but I went to a couple of stores looking for them, and the only deveined ones I could find were also cooked, which I don't want.
Posted by ludosti (Member # 1772) on :
You can find frozen, raw, deveined shrimp, but I don't know about unfrozen ones....Granted, I live in Phoenix, so about the only shrimp we even get here are frozen....

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