Last month, when I asked for ideas as to what I should do for my 500th post, a reader in the UK named Emily suggested I cook a big dinner. When I decided to go out for tacos instead, I promised I would make a dinner and dedicate it to her, and I asked what she would like to see. She said shrimp (or what people on that side of the Atlantic call "prawns.")
I had meant to do this sooner, but something always came up. Last night, while watching TV and putting the final decorations on our tree (at least I hope it's the final decorations... we have a lot) I decided it would be the perfect night for shrimp.
I have written about Trader Joe's tempura shrimp before: they come ten to a box, cook up in the oven in less than twenty minutes, and are just as good as the tempura shrimp you are served at lots of Japanese restaurants. Sometimes I eat these with rice and nothing else and it's a great meal, but on this occasion it only formed one-third of my dinner.
I had some shrimp in the freezer. After defrosting them, I sauteed two thinly-sliced cloves of garlic in a pan with butter for a few minutes over low heat. I added the shrimp, turned up the heat, and cooked them for a couple minutes, adding paprika, salt, pepper and dried basil. They were wonderful: buttery, slightly spiced, and melt-on-the-tongue good.
Although I've never been a big fan of the seafood at Taylor's Prime Meats (no big deal - it's one of the best butcher shops around, not a seafood shop) they have frozen bay shrimp that are outstanding. I defrosted them with just a few minutes of running warm water and patted them dry. In a bowl I mixed chil sauce, a few squirts of lemon juice, and a healthy amount of "Atomic" horseradish. (I like my cocktail sauce sinus-clearingly spicy) before dumping in the shrimp. This was my favorite of the three kinds of shrimp.
Overall, this was an excellent meal. Good call, Emily. I think I need to start taking recommendations from people more often.