Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sort of Shrimp Lo Mein

I am just back from spending a glorious vacation in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. (Hopefully the first of many as I fell in love with the area) We ate lots of fried foods: fried ochre, fried pickles, fried chicken, chicken-fried steak  - pretty much if you can fry it we probably ate it - and collard greens cooked in bacon (who doesn't love a green cooked in bacon). Lots of over-indulgence that results in my desire to now cleanse my body of this sluggish feeling. So this week has been all about cooking with fresh ingredients - what ever I can find at the local farm stand and winging it. This dish came to mind after finding some fresh green cabbage, bean sprouts and carrots at the Leaping Lizard's farm stand. Okay truth be told the first recipe to mind was cabbage and brauts (The Other Half is from Pittsburgh), but that didn't really seem to be heading in the right direction, so after some pondering I decided to make a lo mein-ish dish. I think the foundation recipe for this came from an every day cooking with Martha Stewart, that I have since then fiddled with pretty extensively. It was super easy to make, received rave reviews and was even better cold for lunch the next day. Hope you enjoy!

Couple of notes:
If possible make the sauce in the morning and then let it sit out on the counter covered, for the day until you are ready to cook. It tastes a lot better if you give the sauce some time to meld. Mirin is a rice wine and pretty widely available in most grocery stores in the asian food section. Start with an 1/8 cup of vinegar and then add more at the end of the day if you want a tangier taste. To blanche the bean sprouts drop them in a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds and then move them to an ice cold bowl to stop the cooking process. And most importantly have all your prep work done in advance - this recipe cook quickly.

Sort of Shrimp Lo Mein

8 oz. linguine
Course salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/8-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 head green cabbage, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts, blanched for 30 seconds
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup water or vegetable broth
Cilantro, for garnish

Combine soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, ginger, sugar and red pepper flakes and whisk lightly to blend. Cover and let sit for at least two hours and up to all day.

Heat water in a large pot with 1 tsp. of salt. When boiling, add half a box of linguine (about 8 oz.) and cook at low boil for 7-8 minutes.

While pasta pot is heating, heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat until flecks of water skitter across the surface when flicked on to the pan. Add half the garlic, the shrimp and cook 1.5 minutes. Make sure the shrimp have plenty of room in the pan - you want them to get a nice crust. Flip them over and add half of the soy sauce mixture, coking for another 1.5-2 minutes until all the shrimp have tightened up into little curls and turned a pink hue. Remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Add cabbage, remaining garlic, carrots and bean sprouts, water or vegetable broth and cook 6-7 minutes until greens are just wilted.

When pasta is done, drain and put back in pot. Top with shrimp, and cabbage mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Add the reminder of the sauce and toss. Rinse and chop a handful of cilantro. Add and toss one last time. Serve while warm in large bowls.