Pumpkin Seed Shrimp, Snap Peas

Note to self: “Maine Shrimp” are red when raw, so when you see ‘em in the store and think you’re getting a ready to go shrimp cocktail, think again.  Won’t make that mistake twice!

In tonight’s Experimental Monday’s, we experimented with pastes, the logic of which being that a straight batter might be too overpowering for such a small shrimp, and yet a marinade might actually overcook the tiny shrimp (if it were acidic enough).  To me a paste is somewhere in between.

Well, that was the idea anyway, and there is some conceit to allowing bits of the paste to flake off; otherwise it’s just a chunky batter.  This paste was prepared mostly with pulverized dried pumpkin seeds, basil, sun-dried  tomatoes, and garlic.  The rest of the flavorings included [in small amounts] dried hot chilies, grated ginger, salt, pepper, and a little soy.  Holding all of that together was a bit of flour, an egg, and some milk.

Milk and soy?  Yes, I don’t know what we were thinking, but it was very little milk for what it’s worth.  If there were one standout problem with the paste, it wasn’t in the flavor department, or at least it wasn’t the paste’s fault.  With no peanut oil we were forced to break out the Crisco to mix with mostly olive oil.  These in combination don’t seem to have the same ability to hold heat [without burning] as peanut oil, so the resulting fried shrimp looked a little black.

They were actually not burnt, and there was no burnt tastes – just not appetizing.  The snap peas were first flash-boiled and then shocked in cold water.  Then they were stir-fried for about 10 minutes in butter, olive oil, chopped shallots, and some walnuts.  Stirring only every 4 minutes or so is best, which happens to be enough time to clean a few dishes, gives them a chance to brown yet also distribute the heat.

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