The shrimp of all trades

Sept. 29, 2009, 12:02 a.m. | by Adriano Petrich | Categories: 5 ingredients or less easy hot seafood

The shrimp of all trades


Shrimp, 1/2 kg ( 1 lb ) (any size will do these are 61/70)

Onion, 2 Unit chopped fine

Hot Peppers, 3 Unit seeded, chopped fine

Garlic, 6 cloves or half a head, chopped fine

Limes or Lemons, 3 juiced

Materials and Methods

The quest for shrimp

Since last Thursday I’ve been in a mood for shrimp.

Here in Brazil we say that the best time for shrimp are the months that don’t have an “r” on its name. May, June, July, August in case you wondered. During those months the price goes slightly down and they are slightly larger. And in case you wondered: yes, it is no longer the best time for shrimp, but we still can find some nice ones.

It looks like that shrimp here is graded on a random system. While it is probably true sometimes you get some standards: I bought “61/70” grade which means that for each kilo you expect to find between 61 and 70 shrimps. No I didn’t count them.

I normally buy the frozen “100/200” from Santa Luzia brand: pretty inexpensive and good. I’ve tried other brands but although they are normally cheaper the quality the taste and texture are not as good as Santa Luzia’s

So if I wanted shrimp was just the matter of going to the market and getting some, right?


My first try: The friendly neighborhood specialty market

They have the brand that I like. They have good prices. They are 2 blocks away. sure thing!

They also were out of the uncooked frozen shrimp. They did have precooked frozen ones, but I run from those as I run.. well.. from frozen precooked shrimp, mostly. Enough to say that I run from those. Next shipment? No idea, they can only order a resupply when they are out of at least 3 kinds of products.

Second try: Roam if you want it.

It was Sunday, 8 PM and I was needed shrimp. I drove to 3 markets in a 6 Km radius. No dice. The one that had the brand that I like, had wonderful GIGANTIC SHRIMP at HUGE GIGANTIC PRICES also. Came back home just a little bit depressed, had hamburgers for dinner.

Final try: Take the road.

I live close to a road, and some 10 kilometers through that road there’s a nice market that I was almost certain that they would have frozen shrimp. So there I went. I barely got into the road as a monster thunderstorm started..

I got there, they had shrimp I took the road back and here I am!

Mis en place (or how not to screw things up)

It literally means “put in place”, but what it means to you is that: Once you start shrimps will overcook if you need to do any thing other than keep looking at them and stirring from time to time.

3 minutes. that’s it. If you leave them more than that they are goners. I even cook them less than that.

So here is what you do: Chop the onions, garlic and the peppers. (I just throw them on the food processor and pulse a little) place them in a bowl, mix them well. Have your shrimp also in another bowl. And finally have the juice your limes or lemons in a glass or bowl.

You will also need another clean bowl that should be enough to hold all the shrimp. Keep it on the side close to the stove.

Creating a base

Place a skillet under high heat and drizzle it with some oil (I use olive oil, yeah I know I shouldn’t, but I do). When you see that the oil is starting to smoke move the vegetables in.

Depending on your stove they will either start sizzling and keep sizzling or star sizzling and then sweat (loose a little water on the pan) a little. Doesn’t matter, if they sweat just leave them a little more until they start sizzling again.

Leave them on high heat, stirring every 15 seconds until they start to go brown on the edges.

It is important to caramelize them to get the best flavor when you make the sauce.

Adding and Removing the shrimp

When they are caramelized add the shrimps and stir them well with the vegetables.

Timing is important. It will take about 2 minutes.

Now also is the time to season it, use little bit of salt and black pepper.

The shrimp will go from translucent into white. Then it is time to remove them from the skillet.

Be careful with cross contamination. Do not move them into the same bowl that had raw shrimp. Use the clean bowl that you kept on the side.

The shrimp will produce a little amount of liquid on the bottom of the bowl. We will use it to help make the sauce.

Making the sauce

Pour the juice from the limes into the skillet and using a spoon or something to hold in the shrimp into the bowl drain juice that forms on the bottom of the bowl.

Reduce the sauce until it becomes dark and almost like a sirup.

The return of the shrimp

Return the shrimp to the skillet and kill the heat.

Toss to coat, check the seasoning and that’s it.

Toast (or pasta or whatever)

This shrimp is a my jack of all trades.

Toss it with some pasta and it is great.

Make some garlic toasts and have it on top. They are amazing bruschettas.

I’ve served them with salad, they work great with polenta.

Just have fun.


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